Jordan’s Islamists embroiled in Egypt’s crisis

With the Egypt's President Mohammed Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood facing unprecedented pressure, certainly beyond their political ability to handle, Jordanian Islamists are now in their worst hard time ever.

Jordan's Islamists are not at ease at all, unable to give statements or press remarks on the new developments in Egypt, seeing Mursi – their godfather – defied by huge crowd, irreversibly demanding the Islamist-oriented president be unseated.

Except probably for 'shy remarks' by one of their leaders, Jordanian outspoken Islamists have made no public appearance to comment on the events in Egypt although waited to do so.

They are absent and silent, seemingly under concerns that anything they say might increase Jordanians' weariness of them or would be received with schadenfreude from the government.

Zaki Bani Rsheid, deputy overall leader of the Brotherhood in Jordan has been quoted as reportedly talking about a "conspiracy against Mursi and the MB of Egypt," describing the president's opponents as "worse than the regime of ousted Hosni Mubarak."

Nothing to say

Bani Rsheid was also reported as calling on Mursi's supporters and opponents to resort to dialogue to solve the crisis but his group has always rejected dialogue with Jordanian authorities, insisting instead on taking to the street.

If they have to comment on Egypt's new uprising, Jordan's Islamists are required to announce new approaches to cope with the new developments and change the negative image of the Brotherhood now.

Raed Omari

But realistically Jordan's Islamists have nothing to say. They can neither criticize the Egyptian opposition nor vow support for Mursi's supporters simply because what is being witnessed at the iconic Tahrir Square is a 'new revolution' that cannot be marginalized nor underestimated.

Can they say that Egypt's opposition rebel movement (Tamarod) is wrong when there are hundreds of thousands of Egyptians gathering at al Tahrir Square and in other cities, calling for Mursi's departure in huge numbers seemingly larger than hose during the January 25 Revolution? Difficult to say.

Can they show up and say that Mursi's and his supporters' cause is absolutely righteous and there is a conspiracy against the legitimate Brotherhood by the opposition? Dangerous to say.

To talk now with what is going on in Egypt in the background means admitting mistakes not only in Mursi's administration but also in the Brotherhood's conduct and style of power and that what makes Jordanian Islamists silent as always on the basis of "let us wait and see."

If they have to comment on Egypt's new uprising, Jordan's Islamists are required to announce new approaches to cope with the new developments and change the negative image of the Brotherhood now, or make compromises with the state they have long criticized but they cannot afford to do either.

To put it this way, Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, already suffering from low popularity, will be obliged now to change its political tactics and long-held views on state's matters, mainly elections, in order to regain its lost presence – in fact existence – in the street where it chooses to be, or else it be to be neglected, if not actually forgotten.

It is true that what is happening to Egypt's Islamists cannot be said to be happening to their Jordanian 'brothers', but the whole thing has to do actually with 'counter revolution' against the Brotherhood style of rule in all the countries swept by the Arab Spring uprisings, including Egypt, Tunisia, Libya even Syria.

Although Jordan and Morocco cannot be said to have joined the 'Arab Spring club', what has happened of counter uprisings against the ruling Islamists in Egypt and Tunisia has had it impact on the Islamists in the two monarchist countries.

According to a former Jordanian Brotherhood's member, the Egyptian Islamists used to take advice and guidance from their brothers in Jordan, citing the former's suppression and hard times and the latter's harmony with the state.

But the whole story has changed now. It cannot be that the ruling Egyptian Islamists consult and take advice from the Jordanian power-seeking Islamists. In other words, Jordanian people no longer look at the Brotherhood in their country in separation from what is happening to the movement in other states.

In brief, Jordanians and the Islamists can no longer say that Jordan is a different story and we have a different case.

Actually things have become very interrelated in the Arab world, I mean with regard to Arabs' opinion of the Brotherhood's administration. No country is a special case. There is now a sort of 'collective opinion' about the Islamists' rule in almost all Arab states.

The unsuccessful administration of Tunisia's ruling Ennahda party and Egypt's Freedom and Justice Party and the wrongdoings of Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria have all led to the emergence of skepticism – or abhorrence – of the Brotherhood's style of power.

Criticism to the Islamist movements' rule has come this time not from people – 'thugs' as sometimes said – but from the renowned Islamic thinker and co-founder of Tunisia Ennahda party, Abdel Fattah Mourou.

Participating in the International Moderation Forum, held recently in Amman, Mourou has reportedly said that clinging to power and choosing people according to loyalty and not professionalism are among the major flaws of the Islamists.

In other words, Jordanian Islamists have been criticized in their stronghold [Amman] from one of them. But they did not comment on that neither.

It needs to be pin pointed here that the Islamists in the world all belong to the Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB). Jordan's Brotherhood and that of Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Syria, Algeria and other countries are not independent movements but branches of the GMB.

What is being witnessed now in Egypt of mass rallies against the Brotherhood rule is not a struggle between the legitimate and illegitimate as said in the Islamists' rhetoric but an expression of the Egyptians' weariness of the Brotherhood's totalitarianism and their determination to put their revolution on the right track again.
Jordanian Islamists are required to learn from the mistakes committed by their Egyptian brothers otherwise, they will find themselves one day fireclay confronted by the Jordanian government and even Jordanians happy with country escaping the turbulence and unrest brought on by the Arab Spring.

Raed Omari is a Jordanian journalist, political analyst, parliamentary affairs expert, and commentator on local and regional political affairs. His writing focuses on the Arab Spring, press freedoms, Islamist groups, emerging economies, climate change, natural disasters, agriculture, the environment and social media. He is a writer for The Jordan Times, and contributes to Al Arabiya English. He can be reached via, or on Twitter @RaedAlOmari2

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.