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Incongruous policies causing political disconnect

Mar 17,2018 - Last updated at Mar 17,2018

Social media was recently beset with commentaries on a video leaked from a university lecture by controversial Islamist Amjad Koursha, in which he provided commentary on the Old Testament selectively citing excerpts to prove that the content was “fabricated”.

This is not the first time that Koursha invites controversy over his opinions and activities. Many Jordanians feel that he has consistently been irresponsible and that his comments are in fact damaging to a moderate image of Islam that is respectful and embracing of other monotheistic religions. 

Critics especially have a problem with his sarcastic style of narration where he pokes fun at people who are different to him or do not fit within his declared mold of piety and political affiliation. 

The conundrum is that Koursha is both insignificant and significant at the same time. 

He is insignificant as an individual who seeks personal fame and notoriety by apparently trying to be “cute” and “with it” in his so-called lectures. His colleagues refer to him as a “good looking” boy who can be rolled out to showcase, a less austere image than the traditional dark and heavily bearded Islamists. As an individual, he is in line with his own style, a joke. 

But the problem is that assessments of individuals and their political impact cannot be simplified to that level, especially when the political reach of someone like Koursha goes beyond the small circle around him and in fact feeds into a worrying, and quickly growing national narrative of exclusion, intolerance, and of course extremist religious entrenchment. 

Most importantly, this narrative normalises the denigration of other religions and political ideologies and ridicules and derides their followers reducing their social significance to a level where violence against them becomes acceptable, sanctioned and even funny.

And in fact, continuing to allow Koursha, and the many hundreds of lesser-known Kourshas in our midst, to have free control of public forums, through which they reach youth in schools, universities, communities and the media without in parallel providing a similarly safe space to other groups, Arab nationalists, democrats, leftist, liberals, Christians and religious minorities, as well as activists supporting pluralism and diversity, is exactly the worrying situation that the government must wake up to and remedy quickly.

Jordan’s internal stability and social cohesiveness has been uniquely built on a very sensitive formula that is based in navigating its religious persona, based in the Hashemites historic credentials as Sharifs of Mecca and guardians of the holy places in Jerusalem, with its modern, internationalist and moderate identity as a state. 

Jordanians in turn, grew up expecting to be able to express their political views and live their personal lives in line with their preferences as conservatives, nationalists, Islamists or liberals and without feeling contradiction, albeit with some restrictions on political organising and representation.

The regime, since its inception, negotiated its religious status with powerful Islamist political movements in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, through which it bartered the provision of safe havens for local and regional Islamist leaders in the Kingdom in return for their signature to a socio-political contract that understands, subscribes and even protects political and social diversity in the country. 

What many Jordanians are finding unsettling in recent years is that this formula and contract we have come to expect as part of our status and right as citizens, is being hijacked by religious voices and platforms, which appear to be also receiving support from official circles — whether on purpose or inadvertently — but effectively limiting the freedom of non-Islamist political voices and groups to maneuver.

This is shown clearly when someone like Koursha is allowed to address impressionable youth at the largest public university in Jordan on a daily basis, and allowed to deliver lectures that invite hate and ridicule under the umbrella of academic freedom, while an academic forum hosting presentations from local and international experts focusing on “International Dialogue: Hate narrative, the Media and Radical Extremism — Lessons learned” is banned by the authorities without explanation. 

The examples in this vein are endless and it will not take much effort to compile a long list of contradictory actions by the government that show state complicity in furthering the political agenda of Islamists by ignoring the ramifications of the social agenda they perpetuate. 

The real concern, in view of its incongruous policies, is that the state at its core, is unable to follow a clear and public strategy to facilitate, encourage and empower a diverse mix of political and social forces and ideas in order to build towards, and achieve the political maturity that the regime insists is its target for the political system in Jordan. 

The state apparatus in this regard, in my opinion, are working against the will of not only the people of Jordan, who crave the achievement of a pluralistic and democratic political system working in tandem with the Hashemite regime to maintain stability, but also the declared preference of its leadership, which sees as its objective the achievement of two or three credible political parties representing the diversity of the political scene in Jordan.

The message that we are all hearing and that is being communicated through this inconsistency in policies is that there is a serious disconnect between what is expected and hoped for at the grassroots and leadership levels on the one hand, and what is implemented by government and state apparatus on the ground.

At this critical time of regional instability and internal economic strife, a political disconnect is surely a dangerous thing for us all.

 

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AS USUAL, YET ANOTHER BOMBSHELL. THE TOPIC IS JUST WHAT IT IS THAT POLITICAL DISCONNECT IS THE FUNCTION OF INCONGRUOUS POLICIES. THIS IS IN FACT THE SYNDROME OF THE ARAB WORLD SO NO CURE IN SIGHT. ONLY AND ONLY IF THERE ARE MANY NERMEENS, THE STATE OF AFFAIRS IN THE ARAB WORLD WILL CONTINUE. THE PROBLEM IS THAT MOST JORDANIANS HAVE BEEN SO TURNED OFF AND DISCONNECTED THAT THEY NEITHER FOLLOW THE STATE OF AFFAIRS NOR CARE ABOUT IT BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN VERY MUCH ADAPTED TO THE SYNDROME OF THE IN-APPROPRIATE ADAPTATION MECHANISM. THE UNFORTUNATE COMMON DENOMINATOR OF ALL THESE IS RELIGION THAT HAS PAINTED EVERY PERSON WHO LIVE IN JORDAN AS A MUSLIM AND MUST BE GOVERNED AND JUDGED BY SHARIA LAW. THE FACT IS THAT JORDAN ENJOYS THE PRIDE OF BEING THE MELTING POT OF A HETROGENOUS SOCIETY WITH DIFFERENT RACES, RELIGION, FAITH AND ETHNICITIES BUT UNFORTUNATELY WITH BROAD BRUSH WITH ONE COLOR OF RELIGION AND FAITH. DO NOT GET ME WRONG BECAUSE FAITH AND RELIGION IS A GOOD THING AND SHOULD BE A PART OF OUR PSYCHOSOCIAL ADAPTATION WITH EVERY ONE PRAYING, LIVING FREELY, CONTRIBUTING AND EQUALY ACCEPTED AS CITIZENS IRRESPECTIVE OF RACE AND RELIGION. JUST LIKE PEOPLE COMMING FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD INTO USA TO LIVE IN PEACE, WORSHIP AS THEY SEE FIT WITHOUT ANY PERSON, GOVERNMENT OR INDIVIDUALS FORCING THEM TO ACCEEPT ANY ONE FORM OF JUSTICE GUIDED BY ANY ONE RELIGIOUS SECT, WHY CANT THE DOCTRINE OF SEPERATION BETWEEN STATE AND RELIGION APPLY TO JORDAN AND THE REST OF THE ARAB WORLD. THE FACT IS AND REMAINS THAT THE INCONGRUOUS NATURE OF THE ARAB WORLD POLICIES HAS REMAIND THE FRICTIONAL FORCES RETARDING THE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND STABILITY OF THE REGION. IRONICALL, THE ARAB WORLD STILL REMAINS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND HISTORICAL PART OF THE WORLD BUT BLUNTED BY ONE SIZE FIL ALL RELIGIOUS INTOLORACE.
LET US TAKE THE ISSUES ONE BY ONE. FIRST, WITHOUT DEMOCRACY, GOOD GOVERVERNANCE, TOLORANCE, UNIVERSAL RIGHTS OF CITIZENSHIP, DIVIDED AND WE WILL REMAIN THE STATUS QUO. I WAS VERY HAPPY TO READ THIS MORNING THAT THE CROWN PRINCE IS VISITING MY COUNTRY TO ENGAGE IN A DIALAGUE WITH JORDANIAN STUDENTS STUDYING IN USA BUT CAN ONLY HAVE AN AUDIENCE OF LESS THAN 10% THE TARGET STUDENTS BECAUSE OF THOSE EXCLUDED BECAUSE OF THE SHARIA DOCTRINE THAT EXCLUDES TRUE JORDANIANS WITH NON JORDANIAN FATHERS THAT HAPPENS TO BE THE MAJORITY OF WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN HIS AUDIENCE. THIS IMPLIES THAT BY OUT-LAWING THE BULK OF THIS GENERATION OF HRH POPULATION OF JORDANIANS WHO THINKS LIKE HIM, UNDERSTANDS THE SAME PRINCIPLE AND THE BRAINS OF THE NEXT GENERATION JORDANIAN ECONOMIC ENGINE WILL GO NO WHERE. THIS WILL BE A HARD SELL THAT THIS INJUSTICE AGAINST WOMEN CAN LEAD NO WHERE BUT REMAINS IN A CONTINOUS LOOP OF REMITANCES, FOREIGN AIDS, GRANTS AND LACK OF ANY COHESSIVE POLICIES, DOMESTIC OR FOREIGN BECAUSE THEY MUST FACTOR IN THEIR MASTER'S NEEDS CONSIOUSLY OR UNCONSIOUSLY. THERE CAN ONLY HAPPEN WHEN ANY NATION MAINTAINS RELIGIOUS, FAITH AND POLITICAL BALANCE THAT ACCOMODATES ALL HER CITIZENS WITHIN ONE UMBRELLA OF ONE NATION WITH ONE DESTINY. DIVERSITY IS THE KEY TO MULTICULTURAL THINKING AND GUIDES THE COHESSION OF A NATION. THE CROWN PRINCE IS MY SON'S CLASSMATE AT MARCUS-IMAN WHEN THEY WERE KIDS IN PRE-SCHOOL AND BOTH ARE EDUCATED IN USA, ONE AT GEORGE WASHINGTON AND THE OTHER AT YALE UNIVERSITIES BUT CAN NEVER WORK TOGETHER FOR COMMON GOOD SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE SHARIA LAW THAT EXCLUDES THE CHILDREN OF JORDANIAN WOMEN MARRIED TO NON JORDANIAN MEN. THIS ISSUE ALONE IS, AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE A MAJOR BARRIER TOWARDS THE ENGINE OF GROWTH IN JORDAN BECAUSE IT IS A HIGHLY STRATIFIED COUNTRY BASED ON RELIGIOUS DOCTRIN WHICH CAN ONLY BE SEEN WHEN YOU MIX OIL AND WATER WITHOUT A BUFFER SYSTEM IN PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY.
THIS YOUNG INTELLECTUAL WOMAN ( NERMEEN MURAD ) HAS CONTINUED TO POINT OUT THE MOST COMMON DENOMINATOUR OF THE OF THE CAUSES OF LACK OF PROGRESS IN ALL FRONT BUT NO ONE IS EITHER LISTINING OR WILLING TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS DIALAGUE TO FIX THE SYSTEM AND GET JORDAN TO ITS MAXIMUM POTENTIAL. MAY BE NO ONE IS LISTINING BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN PRESCRIBING A SHOCK THERAPY FOR SOUND PUBLIC POLICY IN A COUNTRY IS MADE FOR MEN AGAINST WOMEN AND YET THEY HAVE MOTHERS, SISTERS AND YOUNG GIRLS.
SECOND, THERE IS NO COUNTRY ON THE EARTH THAT IS ABSOLUTELY HOMOGENOUS EITHER BY RACE, RELIGION, EHNICITY AND/OR THE SAME SET OF MIND. EXCLUDING ANY SECT CONTRIBUTION WILL CREATE A STATISTICAL ERROR OF EITHER A TYPE ONE, TWO OR BOTH ERRORS. THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS PROBLEN IN THE ARAB WORLD IN GENERAL.
IN CONCLUSION, I AM OF THE OPINION THAT JORDAN HAS TO TAKE ITS PLACE IN OUR CIVILIZED WORLD BY BANISHING ALL FORMS OF BIASES FROM THE ENSLAVERY OF WOMEN TO ALL FORMS OF PHOBIA SO THAT ALL VOICES AND OPINIONS CAN EQUALLY BE HEARD. I WILL LOVE TO HEAR FROM MY JORDANIAN INLAWS ESPECIALLY THE MEN BECAUSE THIS BLOCKADE OF THE BALANCING ACTS OF SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM WITH THOSE OF PARASYMPATHETIC IS NOT GOOD FOR ANY SOCIETY.

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