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Monday, July 03, 2006

Brotherhood says targeted by campaign

AMMAN, Jordan, July 3 (UPI) -- Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood Organization has charged that it is being targeted by a campaign to divide its ranks and provoke an internal schism.

Deputy president of the Brotherhood and its official spokesman, Jamil Abu Baker, was quoted on the group's Web site Monday as saying that "there are clear and blunt attempts to drive a wedge among the group's members and provoke a schism" by means of suggesting categories and classifications within the movement which are untrue and unfounded.

Abu Baker did not name the parties behind the alleged campaign, but stressed that the "Islamic Movement is one, united and follows the same method."

Abu Baker was responding to comments by Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit, who claimed over the weekend that a new hardline trend was taking shape within the traditionally moderate Islamic movement in Jordan by advocating extremism and radicalism.

"There are no extremists or fanatics within the Islamic movement, and no such trends ever existed in the past or exist now," Abu Baker said.

Bakhit told a meeting with legislators from the Democratic Gathering Bloc last Saturday that the Muslim Brotherhood Organization is experiencing the rise of a pressuring trend from within which is trying to establish extremist and fanatic thinking probably inspired by al-Qaida ideology.

Bakhit stressed that the government cannot keep silent or stay idle over such trends in view of the dangers hanging over Jordan and its people.

The crisis between the government and certain political forces on one side and the Islamic movement represented in parliament by the Islamic Action Front on the other erupted after four Islamist legislators were arrested for offering their condolences over the death of Abu Musab Zarqawi.

The Islamic Movement twice refused to apologize for showing sympathy to the family of Zarqawi, the head of al-Qaida in Iraq, who was killed in a U.S. raid near Baghdad last month.

At least seven suits against the legislators were filed by the families of the victims of the Amman hotel bombings last year in which 60 people were killed. Zarqawi's al-Qaida branch in Iraq claimed responsibility for the triple attacks.

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