Columnists fault Islamists for inciting Mafraq violence
Reported by Mohammad Ghazal | Dec 25,2011 | 22:51
AMMAN — Columnists on Saturday described the clashes that took place on Friday between Islamist demonstrators and counter-protesters in Mafraq as "unfortunate", with most blaming the Muslim Brotherhood for instigating the incident.
Although they stressed the right of opposition groups to peacefully express their opinions, the commentators criticised the Islamist movement for holding a protest in Mafraq after members of the Bani Hassan tribe warned them on Thursday not to demonstrate there, accusing them of "trying to sow sedition".
In its editorial on Saturday, Al Rai questioned the Islamists’ motives in holding the demonstration in Mafraq, as well as their insistence on protesting at a time when the Kingdom is seeing positive developments in its reform drive, specifically the opening of several corruption cases.
"The Kingdom is witnessing serious and practical steps towards reform and uprooting corruption. No one denies the opposition groups their right to demonstrate, but there is no doubt that the timing and the venue of the demonstration in Mafraq arouses suspicion," the editorial said.
"The Islamic movement committed a mistake when it carried out its humble demonstration and it seems that it wanted a confrontation with Mafraq residents," Al Rai added.
Writing in the same paper yesterday, Abdul Majid Khalid said the Islamists' demonstration in Mafraq was provocative.
"The Islamists accused the members of the Bani Hassan tribe who opposed the demonstration of being ‘thugs’, although those tribesmen had rejected their decision to hold a demonstration in Mafraq," said the columnist.
"It is illogical to label the Mafraq tribal leaders, youth and residents who rejected the demonstration as ‘thugs’ only because they thought that the demonstration would sow sedition in society," said the writer.
"It is true that there is corruption that needs to be uprooted and there is favouritism in society that harms people, but everyone should respect enforcement of the law… We should not be like those who burn down their own houses," Khalid said.
Al Ghad's Ibrahim Gharaibeh agreed that the Muslim Brotherhood’s decision to demonstrate where they were not welcome was a poor choice.
The Islamic movement, he said, committed a "grand mistake" by insisting on holding the demonstration in Mafraq, because it was "not wise to continue to challenge others".
"It would not have been considered cowardly if the Islamic movement had backed off on holding the demonstration to help prevent confrontations,” Gharaibeh wrote in his Saturday column.
Like Al Rai, the columnist also accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being overzealous in demonstrating despite encouraging signs that the government is taking reform seriously.
“If everything and every achievement is opposed, then there is no need for reform as every achievement will be depicted as a failure," he asserted.
Ad Dustour's Hussein Rawashdeh, however, said it is up to the government to prevent confrontations among citizens by speeding up reforms.
“The government should not waste time and keep delaying reforms, as that will cause divided opinions in society and eventually harm national unity," he wrote yesterday.
"All Jordanians want reform, even if some groups differ in priorities about what to address first. Therefore, it is imperative to speed up reforms, as a heavy price will be paid for repeated delays and procrastination," the writer said.
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