Jordan shuts down more Muslim Brotherhood offices

Jordan shuts down more Muslim Brotherhood offices
2 min read
15 April, 2016
Jordanian security services on Thursday shut down five more offices belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, a move the group says it intends to fight in court.
The government refused to renew the party's licence [AFP]
Jordanian security services on Thursday pressed ahead with closures of offices of the Muslim Brotherhood, the kingdom's main opposition force, which vowed to fight the measure in court.

Brotherhood spokesman Badi al-Rafaia said its offices were sealed off with red wax in the towns of Mafraq, 70 kilometres (45 miles) northeast of Amman, and Madaba, 30 kilometres (30 miles) to the south of the capital.

Its offices in Al-Ramtha and Irbid, both in northern Jordan, and Karak in the south were also closed, raising to seven the number shut down since Wednesday, the movement said on its Facebook page.

The latest moves came one day after the movement's Amman headquarters were closed along with an office in Jerash to the north.

Previously tolerated for decades in Jordan, the Brotherhood has had tense relations with the authorities since the Arab Spring uprisings that shook the region in 2011.

The movement, in a statement published Thursday, said the closures "take us back to the days of martial law when order and justice are not respected", and pledged "to take judicial and political measures against these illegal pressures".

Jordanian authorities view the Brotherhood as an illegal organisation because its license was not renewed in accordance with a political parties law adopted in 2014. Last year, the government in Amman authorised the formation of a breakaway group known as the Muslim Brotherhood Association.

Read more: Jordan's crackdown 'will drive Brotherhood underground' 

The Jordanian branch of the movement, which was formed in Egypt in 1928 and has affiliates across the region, has wide grassroots support in the kingdom.

Other governments in the region, particularly the Gulf monarchies, are also deeply suspicious of the Brotherhood, fearing that its brand of grass-roots activism and political Islam could undermine their authority.

The Brotherhood's second-in-command in Jordan, Zaki Bani Rsheid, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in February 2015 for criticising a decision by the United Arab Emirates to blacklist the organisation.

In Egypt, it has been blacklisted as a "terrorist group" and the authorities have cracked down hard on its members, including ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi who has been sentenced to death.

The Jordanian branch of the Brotherhood accuses the authorities of trying to exploit divisions within the organisation.