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Jordan Moves to Ban the Muslim Brotherhood

Political parties cannot be established on a "religious basis"

As the Muslim Brotherhood is solidifying its power in Egypt, Jordan is taking steps to disqualify the movement from even existing as a political party.

In a Lower House session of Parliament, 46 of the 83 Jordanian lawmakers voted yesterday to add an item to how the country defines political parties, saying they cannot be established on a "religious basis."

Significantly, by voting to ban parties on a "religious basis" Jordan has preempted the "name change" the Muslim Brotherhood often performs when complications with its name arise.  In Egypt, a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood became the "Freedom and Justice Party" after the revolution, while in Gaza, the offshoot slowly became Hamas.

Jordan is one of the more pro-Western countries in the Middle East.  The country's queen is a staunch supporter of women's rights, and even worked at Apple before she took the throne.

Islamists are, however, objecting to the measure.  Not only would it disqualify them from the current elections, but all elections thereafter, indefinitely.

"This is only the latest in a series of measures by deputies to limit the influence of political parties and any dissenting views in parliament and political life in general," Zaki Bani Rsheid, head of the IAF's politibureau, said.

"We believe all Jordanian citizens - not only Islamists - should have the right to form a political party without conditions," he added.

But Jordan's Jordan's King Abdullah II maintains that the country's election laws are critical to stability and reform, and remains firm in his support for the measure.

One last thing…
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