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Brotherhood factions to meet in Irbid for reconciliation

By Khetam Malkawi - May 09,2015 - Last updated at May 09,2015

AMMAN — Muslim Brotherhood branches in Irbid governorate will host a conference this month in a bid to address division in the ranks of the Islamist organisation.

Irbid hosts seven branches of the older Brotherhood, which lost its legal status after a group of reformist leaders obtained a new licence, a move that led to splitting the organisation into two entities, the older of which is dubbed “the group” and the new “the society”.  

The latter is garnering more support in Irbid, 80km north of Amman, according to its leaders, who stopped short of giving figures or estimates. Irbid was in the past the venue of a series of reform-oriented Brotherhood gatherings attended by members who called for change.

Abdul Majeed Thneibat, the overall leader of the registered society, said the conference, slated for May 21, is an initiative by Irbid branches, which “invited us and the old group, along with some neutral leaders”.

He explained that the main aim of the conference is to bring all factions together to discuss the legal situation of the Brotherhood in Jordan.

The Muslim Brotherhood-Jordan was licensed in 1946 as a charity affiliated with the mother group in Egypt and relicensed in 1953 as an Islamic society, but remained affiliated with the Egyptian headquarters.

A group of reformists led by Thneibat decided to rectify the status of the group in Jordan, following the announcement of it as a terrorist group in some regional countries, including Egypt and Gulf countries.

The defecting group was granted a licence in March this year, but they met tough resistance by the old guard led by hawkish overall leader, Hammam Saeed. 

The “group” planned, and later cancelled, a rally to mark the 70th anniversary for their establishment. The rally was expected to witness violence, as authorities announced that the gathering was illegal. 

The Islamists accused the government of turning public opinion against the group, adding that their decision to call off the rally was in response to an appeal by individuals and groups. 

The Brotherhood said it reserves “the constitutional and legal right” to hold the anniversary rally any time, but did not specify a new date for the event.

On Thursday, the shura council, the group’s highest decision-making body, issued a statement stressing the importance of “openness” to all segments of society.

In the statement, a copy of which was sent to The Jordan Times, the council said that postponing the festival was a “wise” decision that seeks to maintain the country’s security.

They also called for releasing all political prisoners including Deputy Overall Leader Zaki Bani Rsheid, who was arrested last November for a post on his Facebook page which prosecutors deemed harmful to the country’s ties with a state bound by diplomatic relations with Jordan. 

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