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Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood split over Zamzam Initiative - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Jordanian protesters affiliated with Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood chant anti-Israel and anti-America slogans during a demonstration in downtown Amman, Jordan, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

Protesters affiliated with Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood chant anti-Israel and anti-America slogans during a demonstration in downtown Amman, Jordan, on February 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat—Splits have emerged within Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood after the group announced it was dismissing three high-ranking members for their role in the Zamzam Initiative, a moderate movement calling for reform within the organization.

The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement saying: “An internal tribunal has unanimously decided that this initiative violates the Brotherhood’s regulations and principles,” adding that any Brotherhood members taking part in the reform initiative will be punished in accordance with their seniority and position. The statement confirmed that Rheil Gharaibeh, Nabil Kofahi and Jamil Al-Dhisat—prominent members of the moderate faction within the Brotherhood—have been dismissed from the group for their involvement with the initiative.

The Zamzam Initiative is organized by figures affiliated with the moderate faction of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood which includes independent Islamic figures. The initiative calls for all sides to participate in government institutions and respect the “prestige of the state.”

The group’s official leadership has condemned the dialogue as being part of a move to establish a new organization. The initiative aims to develop a new, Islamist vision based on the Zamzam Document, named after a meeting between Brotherhood officials in Amman’s Zamzam Hotel. The document and subsequent initiative have highlighted divisions between hardline and moderate wings of the Jordanian Brotherhood.

“While the Brotherhood is working together to achieve the group’s demands for reform, we were surprised by some Brotherhood members who launched an initiative that represents nothing but a new organization. While it shares some common policies with the group, other policies are in direct conflict with it. The new organization attracts brothers and sisters who are removed from the Brotherhood’s teachings and positions,” the group said in a statement last year.

Gharaibeh, described as the Zamzam Initiative’s intellectual founder, spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat following the decision. He said: “We do not recognize the tribunal or the Brotherhood leadership that formed this tribunal, or any of its decisions,” adding, “These figures are trying to postpone the [Islamist] dialogue that every Jordanian dreams of.”

“This decision was taken by a group of people that infiltrated the Brotherhood,” he added.

Jamil Al-Dhisat had earlier said that the initiative comprises a number of prominent Jordanian figures from all political sectors, including some members of the Brotherhood. He said that the Zamzam Initiative ultimately aims to emerge with a unified vision to serve Jordan.

The Zamzam Initiative issued a statement condemning the Brotherhood’s move, saying that “punishing people who merely wish to promote national unity is a clear indication that some people still cherish notions of isolation.”