Jordan’s top court has dissolved the country’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamist movement, an official said Thursday, citing the group’s failure to “rectify its legal status”.
“The Court of Cassation yesterday (Wednesday) issued a final verdict ruling that the Muslim Brotherhood group is dissolved… for failing to rectify its legal status under Jordanian law,” the official said, requesting anonymity.
The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, is a pan-Islamic movement with both charitable and political arms.
It has faced years of pressure, especially in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, and has been outlawed as a “terrorist” group in Egypt and banned in several other countries.
Amman had tolerated the group’s political arm for decades, but since 2014 authorities have considered it illegal, arguing its licence was not renewed under a 2014 law on political parties.
It continued to operate, but its relations with the Jordanian state deteriorated further from 2015 when the government authorised an offshoot group, the Muslim Brotherhood Association.
In April 2016, security services closed the Brotherhood’s Amman headquarters and several regional offices, transferring their ownership to the splinter group in a step the movement denounced as political.
The original Brotherhood took the case to court in a bid to retrieve the properties, but the court in its verdict Wednesday ordered it dissolved.
The Brotherhood argues that it had already obtained licences to operate under previous laws in the 1940s and 1950s.
Sheikh Hamza Mansur, head of the organisation’s ruling council, said the group would appeal against Wednesday’s ruling.
“The Muslim Brotherhood … is a model of moderation and an important element in strengthening national unity, so dissolving it is not in the national interest,” told AFP.
The Jordanian breakaway group aimed to sever ties with the Brotherhood in Egypt, where hundreds of supporters have been killed and thousands detained since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Jordan’s Islamic Action Front, a political party aligned with the original Brotherhood chapter there, has had 16 members of parliament since 2016 elections.
It had boycotted polls in 2010 and 2013. Polls are set for later this year but the coronavirus crisis has cast doubt over whether they will take place.
The Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has wide grassroots support in the kingdom.
The movement is also banned in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the region, but is supported by Turkey and Qatar.