The Muslim Brotherhood has faced a great deal of opposition in the Middle East in recent years, with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates all declaring it to be a terrorist organization. Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has historically operated as a loyal opposition to the palace, has also come under fire as regional instability has dampened Jordanians’ appetite for protest and reform. While the group still enjoys significant public support, it is facing a number of internal tensions, culminating in its recent split. How can the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood retain its political clout? Can it play a role in stabilizing and strengthening Jordan?
In this new Policy Briefing, Neven Bondokji discusses the various reform efforts undertaken by Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood since 2010, and argues that it urgently needs to see them through. She identifies key challenges, including the division over the Zamzam reform initiative, overlap between the movement and its affiliated political party, the inclusion of women, the ongoing ideological shifts in the movement’s political discourse, and generational tensions. Additionally, Bondokji examines how Jordan’s East Banker-Palestinian fault line is manifested within the Brotherhood.
Bondokji makes a series of recommendations, including that the Muslim Brotherhood ensure the independence of its political party’s leadership and decision-making, actively engage in and disseminate discourse on plural politics and policy debates, and introduce new leaders and styles of communication. She also asserts that Jordan’s government must empower political parties and allow for a more representative parliament. The application of such reforms, Bondokji concludes, would allow Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood to be an asset in the country’s efforts against destabilizing extremism.