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Brotherhood licensed as local charity separate from Egyptian mother group

By Omar Obeidat - Mar 03,2015 - Last updated at Mar 03,2015

AMMAN — Authorities on Tuesday granted a licence to the Muslim Brotherhood to operate as a Jordanian charity, a step that would enable moderate leaders to disengage the group from the Egypt-based international organisation. 

Social Development Ministry Spokesperson Fawaz Ratrout told The Jordan Times that the ministry on Tuesday licensed 11 charity organisations, among which was the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Ratrout noted the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs will be in charge of following up and monitoring the activities of the society as per the goals of the movement. 

Licensing the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan has triggered debate and caused division among its leaders, described by observers as the worst setback since its establishment in 1946. 

Muslim Brotherhood-Jordan was licensed as a charity affiliated with the mother group in Egypt and relicensed in 1953 as an Islamic society. 

But recently, former overall leader of Jordan’s Brotherhood Abdul Majid Thneibat and other reformist leaders filed an application with the authorities requesting to license the group as a Jordanian charity not affiliated with its Egyptian big sister. 

The move angered the current leadership, which had already dismissed Thneibat as he was collecting signatures for the licensing petition. 

On Tuesday, the shura council of the Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement condemning the licensing of the society away from its "legitimate and elected" leadership. 

Head of the shura council, Nawaf Obeidat, said in the statement, a copy of which was sent to The Jordan Times, that any attempt to influence the legal status of the movement and its "stable" organisational structure will have consequences on the country before the movement itself. 

Obeidat denounced the government’s approval of the licensing request, adding any interference in the internal affairs of the Islamist movement is not acceptable. 

But Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour stressed that the government has nothing to do with the internal dispute inside the Islamic movement, adding the government stands at an equal footing from all parties. 

Ensour, who was responding to a question by MP Zakaria Shiekh during a Lower House session Tuesday, said that a group of members applied to obtain official licensing from the Social Development Ministry, adding that licence would be granted if all requirements are met.     

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