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Muslim scholar detained 'over comments on Jordan's role in anti-Daesh war'

By Laila Azzeh - Jun 15,2016 - Last updated at Jun 15,2016

AMMAN — The State Security Court (SSC) prosecutor ordered the detention of Muslim scholar Amjad Qourshah at dawn on Tuesday reportedly over a video in which he criticised Jordan's participation in the war against Daesh.

He was placed in custody for 15 days pending further investigation into the case.

On the preacher's official Facebook account, the page administrators confirmed Qourshah's arrest, calling on his supporters to refrain from "engaging with debates with those who support his arrest to avoid disputes". 

"We trust the integrity of our law," the administrators said. 

Meanwhile, the Islamic Action Front's (IAF) freedoms committee condemned the detention, saying that it violates the freedom of expression, which is protected by the Constitution and international conventions. 

"The arrest targets all national powers, a matter that would increase tension in the Jordanian street," said an IAF statement received by The Jordan Times. 

IAF committee head Abdul Qader Khatib called on the authorities to release Qourshah and "prisoners of conscience", while "reconsidering the current security approach in dealing with freedom of expression".

The SSC prosecutor's decision sparked public controversy, with some supporting the decision because the scholar "promotes extremist ideology". 

Others condemned Qourshah's detention and expressed their support for his opinions, while a third category opposed his arrest on the grounds that it is against freedom of expression, but voiced their strong disagreement with his views.   

Writer Batir Wardam said that while he disagrees with Qourshah's opinions and deems him a "danger" due to his views that "sow sedition and hatred", he is against arresting him. 

"This is not the suitable way to counter him and his discourse, but in creating a public opinion that rejects his views," said Wardam, voicing his astonishment over those who claim to be liberals and cheering for his arrest. 

Al Rai columnist Ahmad Hassan Zu’bi also criticised the decision to arrest the scholar, noting that the alleged video dates back to two years ago. 

Journalist and commentator Lamis Andoni voiced her rejection of Qourshah's detention, saying that no one should be imprisoned for opposing the state's policies. 

 

She charged that the country has "turned a blind eye to Qourshah's racist and inciting calls, but decided to arrest him for criticising the war in Iraq and Syria".

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