Jordan detains top Salafist cleric months after his release

Jordan detains top Salafist cleric months after his release
Jordan, which has a complex approach to the Salafist-Jihadist movement and is fighting its own war against Islamic State, arrested radical cleric Abed Shehadeh on Sunday, according to judicial sources.
2 min read
28 December, 2015
Tahawi is a leading Salafist cleric in Jordan who has supported jihadists in Syria [AFP]
Jordan's security services arrested Abdul-Qadir Shehada aka Abu Mohammad al-Tahawi, a leading Salafist-Jihadist cleric on Sunday night, according to judicial sources that spoke to The New Arab's correspondent in Amman.

An arrest warrant had been issued by the Jordanian State Security Court, a military tribunal, for Tahawi, on the back of riots carried out by Salafist-Jihadist groups in the city of Zarqa.

Tahawi's son Abdallah said security forces raided his father's home in Irbid Governorate in the north and arrested him in a "humiliating" manner, after several attempts to apprehend him in the past few days.

Abdallah told The New Arab he reckoned the arrest was due to his father's failure to appear in court. "My father is ill and was not rebelling against the court," he said.

Tahawi had been arrested in January 2013 after he failed to attend a hearing in the same case, and was released in October last year on bail.

Tahawi had sparked controversy when he allegedly declared support for the Islamic State (IS) in a message sent from prison. However, the authenticity of the message was never verified.

Following the start of the conflict in Syria, the cleric called on supporters to fight the Syrian regime, and is said to have facilitated the movement of fighters into Syria including his son and his son-in-law, who was killed in 2012 fighting in the ranks of al-Qaeda-affiliate the Nusra Front.

Tahawi is widely popular among the adherents of Salafist-Jihadism in Jordan.