We Are Seeking Civil State and Will Accept Christian Party
|Monday, March 27,2006 00:00|
|By El-Said Ramadan, Ikhwanweb|
Secretary-General of Jordan’s Islamic Action Front
Secretary-General of Jordan’s Islamic Action Front
Party says: We are Seeking to Establish
a Civilian State and Accept a Party for Christians
Jordan’s Islamic Action Front Party is one of the most important Islamic political parties which adopt the Muslim Brotherhood’s thought. It has been engaged in political action since an early date, and has a strong presence and a broad popularity among Jordanians. Recently, elections were held, leading to the selection of Mr. Zaki bin Arsheed as the Secretary-General of the party, succeeding in this post Mr. Hamza Mansour.
Analysts described the ascendancy of Mr. bin Arsheed as an ascendancy of the centrist current on the Jordanian political arena, particularly after the selection of Mr. Salem al-Falahat as the new leader of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood. Against that background, the following interview was conducted with the new Secretary-General of the party, Mr. Zaki bin Arsheed.
* Fist of all, let me convey to you the congratulations of Ikhwanweb on your selection in the recent party elections.
** May God reward you bounteously for this kind gesture. I pray to God to be up to the confidence that party members have placed in me.
* When was the party established?
** The Islamic Action Front party (IAF) was founded in 1992 as the political arm of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood. Since its establishment, it has become the most important Jordanian party and it leads the way for opposition parties. It has been able to form an extensive network of good relations with leftists, secularists and other tendencies within the bounds of a frame that serves national issues. This was clear in the 1997 elections, when it called for boycotting the elections, protesting the election law or the so-called one-vote law. In fact, most political forces have responded favorably to that call.
* What is the frame of reference for the IAF? Is it classified as a religious party?
** The IAF is a civilian party with an Islamic frame of reference. It seeks to solve various problems from an Islamic perspective, but it is not religious since it is not limited to followers of one single religion. It is open to all Jordanian citizens and we are calling for an Islamic government, which is a civilian government with an Islamic frame of reference. It is not a theocratic government, as it is called in the west. We do believe in the peaceful rotation of power as well as in political pluralism.
* Does this mean that you accept the authorization of a political party for Christians?
** Of course, we do accept that and also accept the authorization of any party, whatever its tendency, so long as its program does not conflict with the principles of Islamic shari’a (law). We support the freedom to form political parties and the party and political arena is open to all.
* What is the modality of elections in the IAF?
** Elections in the Islamic Action Front take place as in any other democratic party. Elections are conducted at the grass-roots level and those who are elected go up the hierarchy of the party, pursuant to its Regulations. This goes on till the election of the Secretary-General and his deputy. Normally, the Secretary-General and his deputy are nominated by the Executive Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, but this doesn’t mean that they are appointed by it: it’s just a nomination and any other party leaders can stand for elections. The ballot box is the arbiter.
* This point raises the question of the relationship between the party and the Muslim Brotherhood.
** First of all, as I mentioned earlier, the Islamic Action Front party is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), but this doesn’t mean that it is fully integrated with the MB. The party has its own leadership, structure and institutions, which take independent decisions from those of the MB, but there is coordination between the two.
* What is the reason for the fluctuation in relations between you and the Jordanian government?
** This is not true of us alone; it is the case of all Islamic and non-Islamic trends in our Arab and Islamic region. There are several variables which affect the nature of the relation between ruling regimes and parties. We do not deny the role of those variables in determining that relation, in addition of course to the effect of foreign pressures since, unfortunately, most Arab regimes do not have full independence in determining their attitudes. Our dealings with the Jordanian regime are stable.
* Some people accuse Islamists of lacking a clear political program and claim that Islamists only raise slogans. What do you think?
** This is completely baseless. Our political program is clear and available in detail on the website of both the party and the Muslim Brotherhood. It is a realistic program that is based on the problems and crises facing the Jordanian people. We are not new in the field of political action.
* What is you attitude toward participation in the Jordanian government in view of its clear attitude in favor of continuing the normalization with the Zionist entity (Israel)?
** It is premature to speak about that since we have not been invited to take part in the government. But we have no objection to participating in it, as we did before when we participated with five ministers in the Modar Badran government in 1990. Thanks to God, we have indeed the full ability to form a government alone. As for normalization with Israel, our attitude is clear. We fully reject normalization with the Zionist entity as long as it occupies part of the territory of our Palestinian people.