During the past two weeks, government officials and religious leaders of Saudi Arabia have been campaigning diligently in the national media, how the Muslim Brotherhood (IM) likes to instigate division and disobedience to the kingdom. They appealed to residents to report every IM activity to the police.
“This is a religious obligation,” said the minister of Islamic affairs, Abdullatif al-Sheikh, in an interview with al-Arabiya television station. “Anyone who doesn’t report to the authorities is a part of them,” he added.
So far no government report has arrested the suspect in the Muslim Brotherhood. The group that dreams of Islamic unity across the country has long been declared a terrorist organization.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which recently congratulated Joe Biden on his victory in the US elections, denied the government’s accusations. “We are very far from violence and terrorism. This organization is even more often the victim of dictatorship terror,” wrote the Egyptian branch of the IM as reported by Reuters.
Riyadh is concerned about changes in US Middle East policy after the change of power at the White House. The president-elect, Joe Biden, is certain to monitor the kingdom’s record of human rights abuses, and is believed to be more tolerant of the peaceful activism of Islamic groups, analysts said.
In a statement, the IM urged the new US administration to end the policies of President Donald Trump, which has been accused of supporting the dictatorship.
For Saudi Arabia, the Muslim Brotherhood is an ideological competitor that threatens the al-Saud dynasty’s system of power. The political activism of the IM in Saudi Arabia, among others, is aimed at garnering support for holding general elections.
The Saudis used to have an intimate relationship with the IM, which was marked by the closeness between the Brotherhood’s founder, Hassan al-Banna, and King Abdulaziz Al Saud. That is why until now, Saudi has taken in some refugees from the Muslim Brotherhood, who fled from Gamal Abdul Nasser’s oppression in Egypt.
The warmth ended when IM rejected the government’s decision to accommodate the U.S. military in Iraq II, as al-Jazeera reported.
Since then all the organizations affiliated with the IM have been closed by the Saudi government. While the members are jailed. It is Riyadh that has garnered support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to lobby the US to place the IM on the list of terror organizations.
IM has become an underground organization since President Mohamed Mursi was overthrown by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a 2013 military coup.
Anticipate Joe Biden’s reign
The US President-elect, Biden, has promised to review relations with Riyadh. He demands responsibility for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. At that time the Saudi media was busy calling Khashoggi a sympathizer of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The closeness of the Saudi heir to the throne, Mohamed bin Salman and President Donald Trump has been criticized for fortifying Riyadh from international pressure. Even though he launched a social opening, bin Salman’s policy of imprisoning women activists, intellectual figures and journalists became controversial.
The Saudis are currently accused of trying to use the Islamic State terror attack in Jeddah as a pretext to destroy the Muslim Brotherhood. According to Elisabeth Kendall, a terrorism analyst at the University of Oxford, the narrative is useful in justifying security operations against the IM in the face of the new US administration.
“Saudi Arabia’s latest campaign helps build a narrative that the Saudis are victims of terrorism, not incubators,” he said.
rzn / (rtr, ap, ftd, aljazeera)
Also watch the video ‘Several People Wounded by the Explosion in the City of Jeddah’:
(ita / ita)