Jordan: As gov’t warms up to Islamists, salafists left in the cold

By Taylor Luck, Jordan Times

AMMAN – Despite a renaissance in relations between the government and Islamists, authorities continue to spurn the one group that has made the largest ideological leap during the Arab Spring.

As the government reaches out to political and social groups left, right and centre, observers say salafist jihadists remain left out in the cold.

‘No dialogue’

Standing in stark contrast to recent overtures by the government to the Muslim Brotherhood is the ongoing detainment of over 80 salafist jihadists over clashes during an April protest, many of whom are leaders of the so-called progressive camp within the movement, and, according to defence lawyer Musa Abdullat, were not even present when the clashes occurred.

“These arrests were politically motivated from the start, and their ongoing treatment as foreign militants goes against basic legal procedures,” Abdullat claimed.

The crackdown came despite what analysts have called a series of positive ideological changes within the movement: a renunciation of violence, a rejection of takfirism (declaring those who do not subscribe to their interpretation of Islam as apostates) and pledges to peacefully take part in public life.

Rather than engaging the new generation of pragmatic salafist leaders such as Saad Hneit, Eyad Qunaibi and Ayman Balawi, the state has detained them, kept them in solitary confinement and denied them medical attention, claim relatives, activists and observers.

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Note by the editor: Could the headline be more ‘hopeful thinking’ rather than reality? True, the so-called “Islamists” did not really have majority support (yet), however, as the ‘reforms’ are being talked and talked and talked about, without REAL action, their support base might grow.

Jihadist salafist supporters demonstrate in Zarqa earlier in April (Photo by Taylor Luck) Jihadist salafist supporters demonstrate in Zarqa earlier in April (Photo by Taylor Luck)

Categories: Asia, Jordan

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