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New Brotherhood society claims ‘secret group’ worked behind the scenes to control old movement

By Khetam Malkawi - Apr 26,2015 - Last updated at Apr 26,2015

AMMAN — Founders of the legally registered Muslim Brotherhood society said their priority is to work within national laws and not to be part of an Egyptian organisation.

Abdul Majeed Thneibat, overall leader of the registered society, said Islamist “reformers” started the reform movement two years ago, but the Muslim Brotherhood group opposed this move at the time as some members were “keen to keep personal benefits”.

Blaming the government for not asking the group to rectify its status and register as a local charity rather than remain tied to the mother organisation in Egypt, Thneibat charged that Brotherhood leaders were happy with the status quo because it was for their own benefit.

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 Cairo.

At a meeting late Saturday with columnists and local journalists, Thneibat claimed that before he worked with others to rectify the group’s status, the movement — the Jordanian Brotherhood — had been the only branch still affiliated with the main group in Cairo, receiving orders from there.

Other countries’ groups are independent, he explained.

Thneibat charged that the group, currently led by hawkish overall leader Hammam Saeed, practises the “policy of exclusion” against any member who calls for reform and treats members based on identity or origin.

At the meeting, leaders of the newly registered society claimed that “the secret organisation” within the “illegitimate group” is another reason behind taking practical steps towards reform.

Khalil Askar, a former Brotherhood secretary, charged that the secret organisation is running the Brotherhood’s affairs from behind the scenes.

This organisation, he claimed, includes 40 per cent of the movement’s members and controls its decisions and affairs, noting that the Brotherhood — in its original form — was established in Jordan 69 years ago on January 9, 1946.

Askar charged that these members worked behind the scenes to ensure that specific figures take up leading positions “illegitimately”, deciding ahead of time whom to assign to a certain position that in appearance is subject to a vote.

He claimed that the “secret organisation” employed slander against any members it disapproved of to ensure they lost their leading positions in the movement, citing the cases of Abdullah Azzam and Yousef Azem. 

Askar, now a member of the newly registered society, said he was a member of this secret bloc from 1992 until 2000, but the frequent character defamations prompted him to leave.

“When I realised that they were hurting the reputation of well-known figures to achieve their own interests, I resigned,” he said, adding that the “secret organisation” still exists and continues to play a role beyond the framework of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Askar and other members of the group also claimed that Jordan’s internal issues are not a priority for the old Muslim Brotherhood, with any member who supports national interests excluded and accused of dealing with the General Intelligence Department.

Leaders of the new society said their premier goal is to have one unified Muslim Brotherhood association in Jordan without the current leadership of Saeed and his supporters.

Saeed, they charged, is one of the leading figures of the alleged secret organisation.

But they dismissed as baseless claims that the old guard of the movement had any relations with Hamas, noting that the hawkish leaders were against Hamas leaders.

The Islamist leaders said they will transfer all assets previously owned by the former movement to their legally recognised society next week.

However, there are pieces of land registered in the names of certain members and this might require more time, they noted.

Elaborating on internal regulations of the new Brotherhood, its founders said they are allowed to practise political activities and establish political parties. They also noted that women’s membership is encouraged and this is also included as part of the regulations.

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