Mohammad Aburumman

Reforming the Brotherhood: Is It Too Late?

تم نشره في Sun 21 February / Feb 2016. 11:20 PM

The release of Zaki Bin Irshaid, according to sources inside the Muslim Brotherhood, is a subtle indicator of the unanimous approval of the Brotherhood’s council on the latest internal structural reforms on one side, and the flexibility and resilience of the Islamic Action Front leaderships on the other, especially in regards to suspensions and resignations from the Party.

Recent amendments to the Party’s basic system and structures as well as directions regarding the Brotherhood and the Front, suggest a high degree of reformism surging within the organization and anoter great degree of auto-critique; For example, breaking ties with the mother organisation in Egypt, the increase of youth and female representation within the Party, and the review of the society’s relations to the Party in order to retain more freedom and political autonomy for the latter —the Party.

The problem however lies in the timing of these reforms; that they have come in a year later that they should have. Almost a year after they have matured; because done damage cannot be repaired through reformation. It is also possible that what is required of the current leadership is much more than what they are putting in. Party and Brotherhood leaders have been in total denial of their need for auto-criticism, and —until recently, did not consider benefiting from their experimentations in Egypt. So late that now, division is so rooted within the Brotherhood that it has fractured into sub-Brootherhoods and groups.

This decisive position in regards to the Islamic Brotherhood’s failure to read reality, honestly, is surprising when it comes to such a radical shift in stances; from total denial and deadlock resistance to flexibility, all the way to reinstating expelled and suspended members!

Accordingly, the movement should have asked a question: What if Bin Irshaid was not released, would they have stood by their same positions? If they had any real political insight, should they not have realised the gravity of their mistakes before the man was ever released?

Nonetheless, these steps made are still steps made in the right direction. But they do not at all mean that their dilemma is anywhere near from over. And that is true for two essential reasons: One, as we already mentioned, timing —the Brotherhood were harshly defeated in a battle of timeliness. Two, these steps, no matter how vital, are still not enough. Developments in the region push for more than just a review of current tactics; they demand bolder, stronger, braver leaps to make up for lost time, instead of lagging behind.

So, what can be done? What steps need to be taken?

To begin with, these steps entail; first; that a total separation or distinction —as some put it, be made between the Brotherhood’s religious and political discourses. More so; that they completely abandon the political field, stick to their religious, moral, educational roles, and develop these social instruments and review their curriculums, as well as the literary disciplines they have been teaching within the inner circles of the Brotherhood.

Second of all; floating the Brotherhood’s political role as a political entuty —that they should not construct standing political representation, nor contrain their members to a certain political party. This transforms the Brotherhood into a religious school of thought and a standing reference for many of those active within the political spectrum of Jordan. Notably, this leaves their members space to choose whether or not to partake in political activities. Particularly in light of internal variations, personal and political, between the group’s own subdivisions.

This may actually be their next practical step, not necessarily because they want to take it, but out of necessity. It is, indeed, much better looking out for their political horizons. The Brotherhood has implicitly become forbidden, since the licenced Society came by —which whether strongly active or not, actually took over the Brotherhood’s legal roles and place.

More importantly, these required changes are not enforcements by the government; they are realistic necessities the Brotherhood must heed to get out of their current trench that is much bigger than Jordan, and revaluate the whole Brotherhood project.

Otherwise; if they do not evolve out their current phase where everything Hasan Al Banna said is divine and is beyond diligence, then division, decay, and internal conflict will storm the Brotherhood so long as they resist. Change is their only way out of their hole.