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Brotherhood ‘reform committee’ criticises dismissal of senior members

By Raed Omari - Feb 16,2015 - Last updated at Feb 16,2015

AMMAN — The Muslim Brotherhood’s higher committee for reform on Monday expressed surprise over the movement’s recent decision to dismiss some of its leading members.

The Brotherhood, the Kingdom’s largest opposition group, announced on Sunday that it had dismissed some senior members for attempting to register the movement, which is currently a charity organisation, as a political party. 

A Muslim Brotherhood statement said its shura council held an urgent meeting Saturday and discussed the issue of a group of members who were collecting signatures and holding unauthorised meetings with official agencies to register the movement under a new name.

In a statement on Monday, the group’s reform committee denounced the “totalitarian” decision, describing the dismissal as a step to “punish all those with reformist ideologies”.

“The publication of the names of a group of Islamist leaders on news websites affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood is a defamatory act, falling no doubt under character assassination,” said the statement, a copy of which was sent to The Jordan Times.

The committee, which was formed last year, added that the “arbitrary” decision is in violation of the group’s by-laws, which require dismissal rulings to be endorsed by an absolute majority. 

“We were told by some shura council members that there was a lack of quorum when the decision was taken,” the statement said.

The committee concluded its statement with an affirmation that the group’s affairs are run with no consideration to the “principles of justice and fairness”, vowing to go ahead with reforming the movement to better serve Islam and national interests.

Commenting on the decision, Islamist leader Nabil Kofahi said he found out about his dismissal through news websites, adding that many “reformists” have been dismissed. 

“We were not even in directly formed of the decision,” he told The Jordan Times.   

Kofahi said the reform committee, which comprises hundreds of the movement’s members, held two meetings last year to discuss ways to reform the group — one in Irbid in May and another in Amman in October.

A source from within the Brotherhood told The Jordan Times that Abdul Majid Thneibat and Salem Falahat were among the senior members who were dismissed. 

“The Muslim Brotherhood has always threatened to fire anyone with reform plans or initiatives to develop the group,” the source said, adding that the shura council was supposed to discuss the Zamzam initiative, a moderate movement founded by members of the group and other reformists from across the board. However, the issue was not tackled at the meeting. 

Zamzam, whose official name is the National Initiative for Building, has been introduced by its founders as a moderate socio-political movement launched in 2012 by the liberal wing of the Muslim Brotherhood which has attracted other members from the broader political spectrum.

In January, it launched three associations, one of which is a political mission that has been licensed by the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs.

There have been internal disputes within the Muslim Brotherhood over Zamzam, with a decision last year to terminate the membership of Rheil Gharaibeh, Nabil Kofahi and Jamil Dheisat for their participation in the group, but the three men later mended fences with the mother group.

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