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Ousted Brotherhood member to challenge expulsion

By Taylor Luck - Jun 09,2014 - Last updated at Jun 09,2014

AMMAN — Rheil Gharaibeh, the leading voice of the Muslim Brotherhood’s liberal wing, submitted an appeal on Sunday to reverse a party court’s decision to terminate his membership for ties to a potentially rival political movement, according to movement sources.

Gharaibeh confirmed that he has moved to challenge his expulsion, expressing hope that his return to the ranks of the movement would restore “unity” to the Brotherhood.

“If there truly is a just and transparent process within the group, this decision has to be reversed,” he said. 

Gharaibeh, along with Nabil Kofahi and Jamil Dheisat, were expelled from the movement for their involvement in the establishment of the National Building Initiative, or Zamzam, in late 2012.

The move marks the first public recognition by the ousted Islamist of the court’s legitimacy. 

Gharaibeh previously refused to challenge the March decision, claiming he did not recognise the conservative-dominated court’s authority. 

The decision, which the court said was in line with Brotherhood guidelines forbidding participation in rival political movements, sparked controversy within the group, prompting dozens of senior members to threaten their resignation. 

Last month, Dheisat filed an appeal against his expulsion, which the Brotherhood’s executive office is expected to review later this month.

Meanwhile, talks between the movement’s conservative-dominated leadership and the ousted trio are “progressing rapidly”, Islamist sources said on Monday, with hopes of reaching a deal by the end of the week.

Sources said the two sides have reached a “tentative agreement” under which Kofahi and Gharaibeh would withdraw their support for a recent reform movement challenging the leadership of overall leader Hammam Saeed in return for greater independence for the Brotherhood’s political arm, the Islamic Action Front (IAF).

Under the deal, conservatives also agreed to allow liberal members’ candidate of choice — former overall leader Salem Falahat — to run unopposed for the position of IAF secretary general.

The talks come on the heels of calls from dissenting Brotherhood members for a dramatic overhaul of the movement’s internal regulations and a change in leadership.

Last week, some 100 dissenters discussed internal reforms and ways to challenge the movement’s leadership.

The so-called “reform uprising” had gained the informal backing of Kofahi and Gharaibeh.

In a separate development, the Brotherhood is set to take a decision this week to expel former overall leader Abdul Majid Thneibat for his role in the “reform movement”. 

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