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New leaders of Brotherhood demand control over assets

By Khetam Malkawi - Mar 07,2015 - Last updated at Mar 07,2015

AMMAN — The crisis of the Muslim Brotherhood is moving to a new level of complication after authorities approved a re-registration application filed by the reformist wing in the largest opposition group.

The move was led by Abdul Majeed Thneibat, who sought and succeeded in separating the Jordanian branch of the Brotherhood from its Egypt mother group after decades of presence in that capacity.

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. 

The new emerging division held a press conference on Friday where they announced the election of Thneibat as overall leader, ousting hawkish Hammam Saeed.

However, those who opposed the new reality, led by Saeed, met with Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on Thursday in a last-minute attempt to keep the status quo.

In a statement sent to The Jordan Times, the group who met the premier quoted him as saying that the registration is considered as “licensing of a new charity and not as rectifying the status of the organisation”.

However, according to Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Khaled Kalaldeh, if any of the Brotherhood rival wings is dissatisfied with the development, they can appeal the decision in the competent court.

“We will not interfere,” Kalaldeh told The Jordan Times over the phone on Saturday.

Thneibat, however, told The Jordan Times that “as per the law, we are the legal representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood now”.

“We had been calling for internal reform since the group was labelled as a terrorist organisation in Egypt, but those who opposed reform did not take the issue seriously,” he noted, adding that the new licensed division will claim all the assets of the almost seven-decade-old Islamist group.

“If our request is refused, we will take the case to the judiciary,” he noted, stressing, however, that the old leadership cannot do any transaction related to the assets under the new status.

There is no exact figure of the volume of the Brotherhood’s assets, but Ibrahim Gharaibeh, an expert in the group’s affairs, said that after the government took over the Islamic Centre Society (ICS), the investment arm of the Brotherhood,  “there is nothing much left”. The ICS owns and operates several facilities including a hospital, health centres and schools.

Meanwhile, the new leaders of the charity threatened to suspend their membership at the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm for the group, which they believe is loyal to the old guard.

Thneibat accused the IAF spokesperson of bias to the “illegal” division and “if he continues with this, we will resign from the party”.

Despite the several attempts by The Jordan Times to contact members of the “unlicensed group”, they were not available for comment.

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