More information is now emerging on the recent charges brought up against the Islamic Action Front’s (IAF) deputy head Jamil Abu Bakr by Jordan’s State Security court. This was actually concerning comments posted on the party’s website which criticised nepotism in the government.
“This is legitimate political criticism about fighting corruption and nepotism which King Abdullah himself always talks about the need to combat. We did not accuse any officials by name,” Abu Bakr told Reuters.
Hamza Mansour, the head of the IAF, said the legal action by the authorities against a leader of the country’s largest organised political movement, signalled a government desire to “silence critics”.
“This proves the government’s intention to confiscate freedoms and silence mouths,” said Mansour, whose IAF party with 17 seats in the 110-member parliament is the political arm of the country’s powerful Moslem Brotherhood.
IAF fears over a crackdown on public dissent have mounted since national security chief Marouf Bakheet was appointed last November as prime minister [source]
Whether you agree with their politics or not, no one can deny that they are a healthy party in the political spectrum even in the context of an opposition party. They represent a great deal of Jordanians and are not just taking up space. If we had actual federal elections they would be governing without a doubt.
If the IAF however was either (a) a small party or (b) not Islamic, you would probably never hear or read about a news story like this. They would be left alone. But given that those two factors are the opposite in reality, the government is going to start going after them more and more, perhaps in an attempt to round them up or to erode their base. I truly believe this is the new direction the government is going to take and it has started with the current ‘administration’.
In either case more stories and cases like this will without a doubt cause many of Jordan’s youth to become more right wing than before, perhaps even abandoning the political option the IAF offers them and instead invest their growing frustrations in to illegal extremist groups. Ironically while people feel it is the Islamic groups (even the most liberal and/or moderate of them) which lead or encourage extremism, it’s actually the clamp down on these groups by the government which does it.
In the same way covering a boiling pot with your hands will get you burnt, if this process continues it will for sure backfire with dire consequences.