The Brotherhood’s ‘Black Box’

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Thu 29 December / Dec 2016. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Thu 29 December / Dec 2016. 07:50 PM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

Just some days ago, a book in Arabic titled “The Islamist Movement in Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood: a Historical-Analytical Study and Auto-Critique” came out, authored by sheikh Salem Falahat; a prominent movement leader and the former general monitor, also head of the “Umma” research centre, and one of the founders of the “Partnership and Salvation” party under construction.

The book of two parts, almost 800 pages long, does not include any elaborative composition or prose. Contrarily, it is packed with historical documentation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s critical phases, in detail, addressing the most major issues: the development of the Brotherhood; internal debates on relationship with the system; currents within the group; the relationship to the Islamic Action Front (IAF); participation and boycotting of the elections and the public political sphere; the relationship with “Hamas”; internal conflict, which was especially featured in details on what went inside the halls of the Brotherhood; internal conferences, conventions, debates, disputes, and their options all along the way; from the establishment of the ‘Zamzam’ initiative and its surrounding factors, all the way to the establishment of the new Muslim Brotherhood society, presided by former monitor Dr Abdul Majid Thuneibat, and the factors, reasons, and results of it… so on and forth.

The book cannot be summarised in such a small article, but I will get back to it later. However, what can and must be said, is that it is the most important referential historical document on the Muslim Brotherhood, shedding a lot of light on the very inner workings of its dynamics, by one of their most influential and active members through it all.

Above all, the author carried out an unbiased objective discourse throughout the book, conveying rivalling views equally, as opposed to sufficing his opinion, all the while refraining from defaming rivals, despite the massive price he paid during the 2007 crisis and its internal disputes, which led to many an endeavour to ruin his image in society.

In short, the book to the Brotherhood’s history is what a black box is to a jet plane; out of the endless plains of mystery and delusion, it brings to light all the withheld and vital details of the Brotherhood’s long journey, for all to see and learn; be it interested spectators, researchers, decision makers, intellectuals, or the Brotherhood itself, and everybody who has no access to these details. The book brings the reader straight up before facts, documents, and minute developments over the decades; especially since 2006, all the way into the close of the year 2016, as the snowball of conflict within rolled the Brotherhood into fragmentation; exhibit by the several splinter parties, and the deterioration of their relationship with the regime, which has overall inflected considerable damage on the internal standings, and the influence of certain different currents within the organisation.

Even though Falahat does have his own takes on the names “Hawks” and “Doves”, two acronyms for the Muslim Brotherhood’s major currents; the prior refers to the current influenced by Sayed Qutob’s literatures and is the more ideological, whereas the Doves is the more flexible current when it comes to the system, and is therefore the more pragmatic. Hence, Falahat sees that the names are too concise and inaccurate in their description of the Muslim Brotherhood’s internal currents. Similarly, my book “The Islamic Solution in Jordan” featured the more precise definitions above.

Recently, a third current came out, representative of the youth component, called the “Centre”, positioned between pragmatism and ideology, holding a flexible grounds with the regime. But this current as well broke into two active subcomponents of the Brotherhood with the expulsion of Hamas leaders from Jordan; the first is the national reformist, leading the drive towards reforms and focus on domestic issues, and it was coined the “Jordanists” current within the Movement. The second is the one with a primary focus on the Palestinian cause, coined “the Fourth Column”; and stood in proximity to “Hamas” back then.

This book helps illuminate fake taboos among the Brotherhood, breaking the harmful secrecy rule, bringing their works, movements, and activities, as well as their internal debates, into the public sphere, separating the religious from the political, after it became clear how harmful to the Brotherhood it was to mix them, and how it derailed its course and incited domestic dispute.