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Islamists in Jordan Oppose Upcoming Elections and Democracy Altogether

It now remains to be seen whether the Salafi Jihadists will resort to violence to prevent or foil the parliamentary election.

A demonstration of Jordanian Islamists.

A demonstration of Jordanian Islamists.

Why are radical Muslims opposed to the upcoming parliamentary election in Jordan?

Because they believe that democracy is in contradiction with Islam’s concept of the sovereignty of Allah’s law. They argue that Islam and democracy cannot go together, and they are obviously right, especially if one considers the experiences of people living under Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Thanks to the “Arab Spring,” which has seen the rise of Islamists to power in a number of countries, Muslim extremists today feel free to express their opinion on political and religious issues.

One of them, Abed Shehadeh, leader of the Salafi Jihadi movement in Jordan, ruled this week that democracy in its concept as “ruling of the people by the people” and “should be forbidden in Islam.”

Shehadeh, who is also known as Abu Mohammad Tahawi, explained that sovereignty and government belong to Allah alone and not to the people.

He said that the upcoming parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for January 23, were forbidden and contradictory to Islamic Shariah “because the parliament legislates laws and regulations that contradict Allah’s law.”

Shehadeh also criticized electoral programs presented by the candidates and lists. He said that the “the electoral slogans used by the candidates were “impossible to implement on the ground.”

He urged Jordanians to boycott the elections because “choosing legislators other than Allah is forbidden.”

The Salafi Jihadi leader’s call for boycotting the election does not seem to have fallen on deaf ears in Jordan, where many voters seem determined to boycott the vote.

Although it is banned in Jordan, the Salafi Jihadi movement has managed to recruit several thousand supporters over the past few years.

In April 2011, the movement held one of its largest demonstrations in the industrial town of Zarqa north of Amman. Eighty-three policemen were wounded, including four who were stabbed by Salafis.

It now remains to be seen whether the Salafi Jihadists will resort to violence to prevent or foil the parliamentary election.

Jordanian security officials have expressed deep concern over the radical movement’s involvement in the civil war in Syria. Dozens of Jordanian Salafis have crossed the border to join various Islamist terror groups waging Jihad [holy war] against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s regime.

The Jordanians’ biggest fear is that when the Salafis are done with Syria, they will intensify their efforts to turn the kingdom into an Islamic state.

The Jordanian Salafis who are fighting in Syria are not seeking to install democracy. Nor are they seeking to enable Syrians to hold free and democratic elections to choose their representatives. As their leader, Shehadeh, explained, democracy and elections are forbidden in Islam.

The Salafis, like other radical Islamist groups, want to establish an Islamic empire and impose strict Shariah laws on Arabs and Muslims. They are convinced that sovereignty and “government should be only in the hands of Allah,” who has entrusted them with serving as his representatives and messengers on earth.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

About the Author: Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.


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