Democracy and Islam in Jordan

Democracy in Jordan and the Relationship between the State and the Islamist Movement in Jordan

Master's Thesis, 2017
76 Pages, Grade: 95 von 100


Table of Contents

1 Introduction
1.1 Definitions
1.1.1 Democracy
1.1.2 Islam and Islamism

2 The Jordanian State and Government and its (Non-) Democratic Structures
2.1 History and Political Development since Establishment of the State 1922
2.2 Political System and Democratic Structures The Government The Election System Ethnic demography and the Middle Class Civic Participation NGOs in Jordan Human Rights in Jordan Women in Jordan Freedom of Opinion & Media Summary: Democratic Structures in Jordan
2.3 The Relevance of External Actors for Jordan

3 The Islamist Movement in Jordan
3.1 History since the Foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1945
3.1.1 The Palestinian Issue
3.1.2 Establishment of the Islamic Action Front (IAF) Islamic Action Front – Representation in Parliament The Party’s Objectives Methodology and Organizational Structure The Relevance of the Islamic Center Charity Society (ICCS) in Jordan Internal Rivalries of the IAF Women and Women’s Issues in the IAF Democracy as a Tool to Gain Power?
3.2 Evolution of the Brotherhoods Discourse - From Alliance with the Government to Crisis
3.2.1 The Change in the 90s and the New King Abdullah II
3.2.2 The Palestinian Issue and Hamas
3.3 Protest Movement in Jordan and the Arab Spring
3.3.1 The Role of the Middle Class in Arab Spring
3.4 The Islamists Influence on Political Reforms
3.5 Relationship between State and Islamists nowadays

4 Conclusion and Outlook

5 References



This graduation project examines the influences of Islamic powers on democracy in Jordan. The Middle East is in upheaval, especially the Arabic Spring has contributed to question and reorganize society structures. While democracy and human rights take an increasing role in the global context, this seems not to be the case in the Arabic World. In the case of Jordan, the country presents itself as a constitutional monarchy within a democratic system. The constitution guarantees Western liberal democratic freedoms. Anyhow, in practice, they are rarely implemented.

The royal house strives to present the society as modern and democratic and pursues specific interests by that. Anyhow, examining the factors that define democracy, one has to raw the conclusion that society structures in Jordan are authoritarian and undemocratic. This paper examines the (un)democratic structures of Jordanian society while especially focusing on the Islamic groups in Jordan.

It analyses the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and their corresponding political party IAF (the biggest Islamic party in Jordan) in parliament, on political reforms, on the Arabic Spring, on the role of woman in society, on the account of middle class and on the relationship of the party towards the central government. By that, it is going to become clear that IAF and Muslim Brotherhood scarcely influence political reforms in Jordan. Also in the resistance movement of the Arabic Spring in Jordan, Islamic groups had only a marginal impact. The former cooperation of the IAF with the Hashemite regime, which was based on grounds of common interests, came to rest. Experts fear an escalation with a possible radicalization of Islamic powers. Endeavours to establish more democratic structures have been disrupted.

It seems to be the most important challenge of the time of the entire Arabic World to take Islamic movements serious and to integrate them, while simultaneously pressing ahead with endeavours to democratize society.

Abstract (German)

Das vorliegende Graduation Projekt untersucht den Einfluss von Islamischen Kräften auf die Demokratie in Jordanien. Der Nahe Osten ist in Aufruhr, insbesondere der Arabische Frühling hat Gesellschaftsstrukturen in Frage gestellt und neu geordnet. Obwohl Demokratie und Menschenrechte weltweit eine immer größere Rolle spielen, scheint dies in der Arabischen Welt kaum zu gelten. Dies sieht in Jordanien nicht viel anders aus. Jordanien als konstitutionelle Monarchie stellt sich gerne als demokratisches System dar, und in der Verfassung sind westlich-liberale demokratische Freiheiten verankert, die jedoch in der Praxis kaum umgesetzt werden. Das Königshaus erweckt gerne den Anschein einer modern-demokratischen Gesellschaft und verfolgt damit bestimmte Interessen. Untersucht man jedoch die Faktoren, die Demokratie definieren, kommt man zu dem Schluss, dass die jordanischen Gesellschaftsstrukturen autoritär und undemokratisch sind.

Dieser Aufsatz untersucht die (un-)demokratischen Strukturen der jordanischen Gesellschaft und hat dabei ein besonderes Augenmerk auf die islamischen Gruppierungen in Jordanien. Er analysiert den Einfluss der Moslembrüder und deren zugehörigen politischen Partei IAF, die größte islamische Partei Jordaniens, im Parlament, auf politische Reformen, auf den Arabischen Frühling, auf die Rolle der Frau in der Gesellschaft, die Bedeutung der Mittelklasse und das Verhältnis der Partei zur Regierung. Dabei wird deutlich, dass IAF und Muslimbruderschaft politische Reformen in Jordanien kaum beeinflussen, auch in der Widerstandsbewegung des Arabischen Frühlings in Jordanien hatten islamische Gruppierungen kaum Bedeutung. Die frühere Kooperation der IAF mit dem Haschemitischen Regime, die auf gegenseitigen Interessen ruhte, ist vollkommen zum Erliegen gekommen, eine Eskalation und damit Radikalisierung islamischer Kräfte wird von Experten befürchtet. Demokratisierungsbemühungen in Jordanien sind insgesamt zum Erliegen gekommen. Es scheint für die gesamte arabische Welt als die Herausforderung der Zeit, islamische Bewegungen mit ihren Anliegen ernst zu nehmen und zu integrieren und gleichzeitig Demokratisierungsbemühungen voranzutreiben.

1 Introduction

„Nothing changes. Jordan acts as if it was a democracy, but that is not the case” (Lenner[1] ). This quote reflects the position of many Jordanian citizens; most Jordanians do not feel represented by the delegates of their parliament[2], although the country holds free elections and has a party system.

Freedom House, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights, assesses each country’s degree of political freedoms and civil liberties. Jordan is assessed by Freedom House as “Not Free” and scores only 11/40 points regarding Political Rights.[3] “Democracy in Jordan- Not A Simple Matter” titles a newspaper;[4] “Democracy is still far off” another one.[5]

And - Jordan seems not to be alone in its neighbourhood: According to Freedom House, the countries of Middle East and North Africa have historically been the least free region in the world.[6] Democracy ceased being a mostly Western phenomenon, every one of the world’s major cultural realms had become to a significant democratic process, with a single exception - the Arab world, a region in turmoil. This principal exception to the globalization of democracy, the continuing absence of even a single democratic regime[7] in the Arab world is a striking anomaly,[8] while human rights and democracy are the core values that are on the rise - worldwide.

The Arab Spring, also called the Islamic Spring[9], was the attempt to a way out of this situation, but the attempt seems to have failed today, five years after its outbreak.[10]

Also the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was watched closely during the early events of the Arab Spring in 2011. Many Western analysts expressed that it would be the next country in which large protests and social and political mobilization would shift the scales of power away from the ruling regime to the protestors on the street. Despite this anticipation in the popular media, along with widespread desire for political and economic reform on the part of Jordan’s populace, neither did the country experience mass mobilizations nor did the population articulate calls for an ousting of the monarchy.[11]

The Arab region failed to undergo an equivalent change through the Arab spring, although it is in desperate need of its own renaissance or reformation, leading to the adoption of individual rights, secularization, women’s rights, pluralism and participation of all in decision-making. I believe that the population is seeking for a form of democracy that integrates democratic Western values and universal human rights with the deeply rooted cultural values of the Arab societies, to form a new synthesis of civilizations.

However, contrary than often assumed, the history of the region is not unsuitable for democracy: it offers a complex religious, confessional, ethnic and national structure. These characteristics can offer prosperity and win a favour through the role of under-identities. A democracy based on sub identities is potentially more stable than the Western version that is based on the individual. Disproportional individualism could lead to irresponsibility; in the history of the region a decentralized structure with sub identities has always existed.

In this context arises the question about the reason of this missing democratic development. Why did the Arab countries fail so badly to establish democratic structures? It seems that over the course of the last century the society of the Arab Nation has been weakened by Islam; although Islamism at first opened with an era of progressive achievements, dogmatism and fatalism stifled further development. Contemporary Muslim societies are often characterized by political control and limited means for communicative action. The ‘modernist’ interpretations portray Islam as reactive movements carried by traditional people, the intellectuals, and the urban poor, against Western style modernization. These movements are said to be anti-democratic and regressive by character.[12]

On this point, it seems reasonable to investigate the role of Islam and the relation of Islam to democracy and democratic values. Is it Islam that is a reason for the “democracy gap” in the Arab world? To analyze the relation of Islam to democracy and democratic values, it is obvious to analyze a state’s internal political structures. This paper does not seek to give a general answer to this dispute of Islam and democracy but rather analyzes the Jordanian case specifically and in detail. It analyzes the Jordanian Islamist’s influence on the internal political and societal structures of the Kingdom of Jordan.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan holds a strategic location in the Middle East, sharing borders with Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Israel and the West Bank. Jordan’s domestic affairs are heavily impacted by the politics of the surrounding countries; also the Arab Spring constituted a change in the country’s home policy. Jordan as the Nation of Security and Stability (Belad al-Amn wa al-Istighrar)[13] was an often-repeated niche characterization in a region otherwise wrecked with violence, occupation and civil war, and in need of significant political and economic development.[14]

In comparison to most other countries swept by the Arab spring, Jordan was less impacted. Yet the mantra that Jordan is the Nation of Security and Stability is true only relative to neighbouring countries. The implication is than the future of Jordan is inextricably linked to those of neighbouring countries, even more so that its own internal political and economic situation would otherwise indicate.[15]

Democracy and Democratization

Many different causal factors influence a state’s success and failure of democracy as well as democratization, democratic transitions and democratic consolidation, including, for example, evidence concerning the role of political institutions, the market and capitalist reforms, civil society, gender equality, political culture, the presence of the middle class, tribalism tradition, the power of the military, corruption, and international support.

This essay analyzes the Jordanian Islamist Movement’s impact on these factors in Jordan and considers especially the relationship between the Jordanian government and the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood called IAF (Islamic Action Front, strongest Party in Jordan). Through analyzing and evaluating the IAFs influence on these various elements of democracy, it is going to be determined whether the Islamists’ relationship to the government and in particular to the royal family is an obstacle or rather a promoting factor for democracy in Jordan as they like to see themselves.

The central question of this essay is therefore:

Is the Islamist movement in Jordan a threat or an obstacle to democratization, or does it rather promote democratization in the Jordanian state?

My Hypothesis declares:

The Islamist Movement in Jordan promotes democratization.

The following chapter 2 provides an introduction into the structure of the Jordanian state and government; it will present the state’s history and political development, the political system and democratic structures in Jordan. The subsequent chapter will explain Jordan’s strategic position in the region and the significant relevance of external actors for the state’s politics. Chapter 3 will serve as an introduction into the history of the Islamist Movement in Jordan and the evolution of the Muslim Brotherhood’s discourse. It then analyzes the role of the Palestinian issue and the role of the Muslim Brotherhood on the Protest movement in Jordan during and after the Arab spring. The following chapters discuss the Islamist’s influence on political reforms in Jordan and the relationship between state and Islamists nowadays. Finally, chapter 4 summarizes and unites all influencing factors as a conclusion and outlook.

1.1 Definitions

1.1.1 Democracy

There are many definitions of what democracy [greek: δημοκρατία = rule of the (simple) people] means, especially in academic circles. Indeed, there is no generally accepted concept of what makes a democracy. Looking at the states that are considered to be democratic may not be helpful, because there is a large variety of political systems and practices in them.[16]

Academic definitions range from the minimalist (‘competitive struggles for votes’) to the far-reaching (including a degree of economic equality or well-being).

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) defined democracy as »Government of the people, by the people, for the people«.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines Democracy as »an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights«.[17]

Bobbio underlines the importance of participation in a democracy in his definition: A ‘democratic regime’ is "first and foremost a set of procedural rules for arriving at collective decisions in a way which accommodates and facilitates the fullest possible participation of interested parties."[18]

Williams[19] and Callahan[20] emphasize another aspect of democracy, the linkage between economic and political inequality. They declare that economic inequality is a threat for a state’s democratic system. “Higher levels of income inequality powerfully depress political interest, the frequency of political discussion and participation in elections among all (…) greater economic inequality yields greeter political inequality”[21].

Building Democracy defines democracy more detailed as a

“form of government, where a constitution guarantees basic personal and political rights, fair and free elections, and independent courts of law. In order to deserve the label modern democracy, a country needs to fulfill some basic requirements that must be kept up in everyday life by politicians and authorities:

- Guarantee of basic Human Rights to every individual person vis-à-vis the state and its authorities as well as vis-à-vis any social groups (especially religious institutions) and vis-à-vis other persons.

- Separation of Powers[22] between the institutions of the state:

⇒ Government [Executive Power],

⇒ Parliament [Legislative Power] and

⇒ Courts of Law [Judicial Power]

- Freedom of opinion, speech, press and mass media

- Religious liberty

- General and equal right to vote (one person, one vote)

- Good Governance (focus on public interest and absence of corruption)”

From: Building Democracy 2015 [23]

The presented definitions identify several criteria of democracy, which are:

- Rule of the people, collective decisions
- Human rights
- Gender equality
- Separation of Powers
- Freedom of Opinion, Speech, Media
- Fair and equal votes
- Religious Liberty
- Economic equality, role of the Middle class

This essay analyzes democracy in Jordan among these criteria and answers the research issue among their implication in Jordan.

1.1.2 Islam and Islamism

The prevailing accounts tend to make overarching generalizations about the nature and dynamics of Islamist movements. Writers often have an undifferentiated view of Islamist parties; Islamist actors are often put on an equal footing with terrorists and extremism.

Subsequently this essay needs a definition of both terms for an explicit understanding:

Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Quran.

Islamism , also known as political Islam or fundamentalist Islam, is used to encompass Islamist politics. Islamist politics refers to the activities of organizations and movements that agitate in the public sphere while deploying signs and symbols from Islamic traditions. It entails a political ideology articulating the idea of the necessity of establishing an Islamic government, understood as a government which implements the Sharia (Islamic law)[24].

The Muslim Brotherhood, a popular movement founded in 1928, is the most prominent and important representative of what is referred to, alternately, as “Islamism”, “political Islam”, or “fundamentalist Islam”.[25]

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 1: Jordan in Brief

The listing illustrates the proportion in Jordan as a Sunni Muslim country with Arab ethnicity and high Youth unemployment

2 The Jordanian State and Government and its (Non-) Democratic Structures

2.1 History and Political Development since Establishment of the State 1922

The “Emirate of Transjordan” was officially recognized in 1922. The Kingdom was established with a League of Nations mandate under British control. The Hashemite family took the lead and was faced with the challenge of integrating two groups in this new state: on the one side the nomadic Bedouins and on the other hand Palestinian and Syrian populations. The Bedouin tribes “accepted the new central government only reluctantly”[26] and created an obstacle to successful integration. The Hashemite King Abdullah I tried to solve this problem with an “appeasement policy”: He enlisted the Bedouins into the security forces of the country, in order to secure their loyalty. This strategy is still one major concern of the Royal family nowadays; the new institutions that were established by the new state integrated the prevailing tribal structures. Therefore, tribalism is still an important factor in the balance of power.[27]

Jordan became independent from Britain in 1946 and the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan was born as a sovereign state;[28] Abdullah I took the title “King of Jordan”. In the first Arab-Israeli War 1948-1949 Jordan occupied the West Bank. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled to Jordan. Palestinian refugees in Jordan still play an important role for the current political situation of the country. In the following decades there have been several conflicts with Palestinians living in Jordan. In the 70ies, after the brief civil war (“Black September”), the situation of Palestinians, who had hitherto been integrated into the Jordanian polity to a significant degree, gradually changed: With the process of Jordanization, they were increasingly excluded from public sector recruitment as well as from military and other security agencies, and faced mounting discrimination.[29]

The first parliamentary election took place in 1951, another followed in 1954 and 1956; political Parties go back to the founding of the state and the party system has undergone various phases. The constitution of 1952 stated the right of citizens to set up and join political parties, and this was confirmed by the Political Parties Law of 1955.[30] In that period, Jordan had active parties and held parliamentary elections that led to a coalition government formed by the whole of the country’s political spectrum. In 1957, martial law was declared and parties were banned for about three decades. A new Political Parties Law was issued in 1992 and life began to return to the old political parties, while new ones emerged.[31] Al-Attiyat[32] emphasizes that parties have participated in parliamentary elections since then but have not been able to play a significant role in political transformation.

Relevant for this essay are the events of 1994, when the then-reigning King Hussein concluded negotiations to end the official state of war with Israel resulting in the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace. Since the signing of the peace treaty, the United States contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in an annual foreign aid stipend to Jordan to foster good relations between Jordan and the West. The peace treaty and the cooperation with Israel and the US were not well received among the Jordanian population, resulting again in domestic upheaval. Resentment between Palestinian Jordanians, who make up the unaccounted-for majority of the Jordanian population nowadays,[33] and Transjordanians[34] has built up over the last decades and resurfaces in periods of crisis. The official national narrative maintains that both East Bankers and Palestinian Jordanian remained part of the `Jordanian family´, protected by the Hashemite monarchy. Jordanian nationalism nevertheless, became increasingly `bedouinised´, stressing the image of the Jordanian Bedouin as representing the nation, at the expense of other population groups.[35]

In 1999, the current king, Abdullah II Ibn al-Hussein ascended the throne upon the death of his father King Hussein.

2.2 Political System and Democratic Structures The Government

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy; the King holds wide executive and legislative powers. The King appoints and dismisses the executive branch consisting of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet of Jordan, and regional governors. He may dissolve the bicameral National Assembly at his discretion.[36]

The Parliament of Jordan consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Members of both houses serve four-year terms. The 75 members of the Senate are all directly appointed by the King.

The 150 members of the House of Representatives are elected through universal adult suffrage. 27 deputies are selected through party lists, women’s quota is 15 seats, and the remaining 108 seats are chosen from constituencies through direct elections.

The Chamber of Deputies may approve, reject, or amend legislation proposed by the cabinet, but it cannot enact laws without the assent of the royally-appointed Senate.[37] The Parliament is also not authorized to bring in their own legislative initiative.[38] Insofar the Parliament is more an assistant organization than it has discrete meaning for any political process.[39]

Jordanians are free to join political parties, although in practice, votes are cast along non-partisan and tribal lines. The country has 23 political parties divided into two opposing coalitions; the IAF is seen as the country's strongest party[40] and main opposition. The Election System

Since initiation the political liberalization process in the kingdom of 1993, Jordan has seen many electoral laws. Almost every parliamentary election is receded by a new one.

The one man-one vote formula replaced in 1993 a system whereby voters were entitled to as many votes as there were parliamentary seats allocated for their district. The formula reformed every several years was strongly criticized; critics said the formula deepened tribalism and favours government loyalists because voters are more likely to vote for a fellow tribesman whereas in the past there was a greater chance the votes could be spread out among the different open seats. It is sending a message to the public to return to their sub-identities and their tribal affiliation;[41] therefore the law circumvents votes along political approaches.

Parliamentary Elections in 2013 were the first under the newly adopted Election Law in which voters cast two ballots (before 2013, voters were restricted to choosing a single candidate with the one-man-one-vote-formula). One vote is cast for a party list where candidates are selected through proportional representation in a single nationwide constituency. Another candidate is selected through the old single non-transferable vote (SNTV) system based on local electoral districts.[42]

Freedom House comes to the assessment, that parliamentary elections in 2013 in Jordan preserved the Status quo.[43] Gerrymandering and the preponderance of the single non-transferable vote system have maintained the political dominance of powerful East Bank tribes and independent businessmen loyal to the regime. Urban areas account for over two thirds of the population but less than one third of seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The chamber of Deputies is heavily imbalanced in favor of rural districts, whose residents are generally of Transjordanian (East Bank) origin; Palestinian-Jordanians are heavily concentrated in larger cities[44], especially Amman, Irbid and Zarqa in the North. The interest of the regime is to support the royalist, more rural regions; accordingly, the votes of these areas are partly weighted more heavily than the votes of urban, critical regions. In return for the political support of the East Bank Jordanians, they have received jobs in the public sector, the military, and the intelligence services, as well as patronage delivered along ‘tribal’ lines. Under the election law, parliamentary constituencies are gerrymandered so that the votes of Palestinians, who are concentrated in urban areas, count for much less than Jordanians of the East Bank origin. In the 2013 election, conducted under the reformed election law, the governorate of Amman was allocated 25 seats for its 2.5 million people, or about one parliamentarian per 96 000 people. In the southern governorates of Tafileh and Maan, by contrast, each parliamentarian represents between 22 000 and 33 000 residents.[45] (Or, in the words of the former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher, this is “a system designed to keep the number of parliament members of Palestinian origin to a minimum.”[46] )

This means, elections in Jordan are indeed free and secret, but not equal, which is an important democratic principle. Criticisms of the Jordanian electoral law, that are mounted by the Islamic Action Front and smaller political parties, also states that one result of the law is the promotion of tribal loyalties; the law objects to voting based on political motives.[47] Ethnic demography and the Middle Class

The ethnic demography in Jordan is largely the result of warfare and refugee creation in neighbouring countries. Jordan is a mainly Sunni Muslim country with Arab ethnicity. Though the government conducted an official census in 2010, it does not document the population in terms of ethnicity or religion. Islam is the state religion, but other religions are allowed to be practiced, Jordan has freedom of religion.

More than 90 percent of the population are Muslim, but, however, they are not a homogenous group. They are overwhelming Sunni, and the Salafis among them are growing in number.[48]

The middle class in Jordan is emergent. Tobin argues that a “heightened notion of the middle-class-status and ‘aspiring cosmopolitanism’ provides a newly significant form of social organization in Amman. This reorients the populace away from failed political reforms and serves as a means to reinforce the status-quo, particularly in the context of deepening internal divisions and a region in turmoil”. This essay will further down analyze this issue. Civic Participation

The King sees the Jordanian society and its population as unripe and immature for democracy.[49] Even though he established several reforms to encourage active civilians participation (“The ball is now in the court of the civil society institutions to meet it halfway”, King Abdullah II),[50] the population remains distrustful. Most Jordanians do not feel represented by the delegates of their parliament.[51] Lack of public spirit, subordination to authorities and short willingness for political and social engagement are widely spread and thereby poor preconditions for a new democratic development of the country. State control and restriction of civil rights of the past decades left its mark.[52]

Freedom of association is limited; the Ministry of Social Development has the authority to reject registration and foreign funding requests for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and can disband organizations it finds objectionable.[53] NGOs in Jordan

All NGOs are under supervision of the appropriate Ministry and are permanently controlled in terms of budget management, members and members of the board, obligation to report, strictly limited constraint of once-only specified purpose of the association, registration of all activities, and more. Trade unions are subject to extra intense restrictions.[54] All NGOs must receive separate permission for each activity, and it is possible that an NGO will not receive permission to conduct all of its activities.[55] All together they have do not enjoy freedom of action. Many of the NGOs are MoNGOs and RiNGOs (“MoNGO=MyNGO: Foundations of a headliner who has some followers and is not democratic altogether / RiNGO=Royal, under patronage of members of the Royal Family) and dominate the field of work of the remaining NGOs. Human Rights in Jordan

Regarding human rights, Jordan has signed numerous international conventions to protect human rights, but the death penalty still exists and cases of torture arise repeatedly. Human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch periodically report violations of Human rights in the country. Women in Jordan

Women enjoy equal political rights but face legal discrimination in matters, which fall under the jurisdiction of Sharia (Islamic law) courts. This essay will further regard the issue of women’s discrimination in Jordan as well as in IAF (see for example chapter Freedom of Opinion & Media

Freedom of expression is restricted by numerous laws that criminalize defamation, the denigration of government, and the incitement of sectarian strife. The government exerts political pressure on editors to control the media.[56] This implicates that a distinction between freedom of expression and a violation of the law is difficult, because it is tied to the interpretation of state representatives.

One recent survey reported that 94 percent of all Jordanian journalists practice self-censorship, with issues related to the armed forces, tribal leaders, and palace politics considered too delicate to touch.[57] Summary: Democratic Structures in Jordan

Jordan has incorporated western-liberal democratic freedom and the division of powers in its constitution, but in practice, there are a lot of offenses against them. Many factors influence the score of democracy negatively. A survey of the Jordanian University in the year 2007 about the level of democracy comes to the result that Jordan fulfills the standard with 5,7 (on a scale from 0 to 10).[58]


[1] Lenner 2007: Parlamentswahlen in Jordanien. Stillstand im Land der Hochglanzdemokratie

[2] see for example: Leukefeld 2007, Sydow 2008

[3] Freedomhouse 2015/1 Jordan – Freedom in the World, 2015 Scores, Freedom Rating, Civil Liberties, Political Rights,Freedomerties, Political Rightseditional segment of society. such as ISIS. The IAF's ive movement uncoder their consituent

[4] VOA 2015: Democracy in Jordan Not a Simple Matter bis hierher überprüft he Perspec ine: ne: gesellschaft Wiesbaden.

[5] The Economist 2010: Jordan’s Election

[6] Freedom House 2015/2: Middle East and North Africa

[7] Tunisia remains the wobbly exception to what has become the overwhelming rule of failed states emerging from the Arab Spring in the Middle East. However, the democratization in the country isn’t flawless.

[8] Diamond 2010: Why are there no Arab Democracies? p.93

[9] Harrison 2013 : Arab Spring or Islamic Spring?

[10] The revolts of the Arab it. s attitude hardens the faces rather than softining between egime and IAF. ALso aki Sa'Arab spring were instigated by dissatisfaction with the rule of governments, against authoritarian regimes and political and social structures of the involved countries. Originally, the protests raised hope for reforms regarding human rights and the events had a positive connotation. Meanwhile, this connotation has been swept to the opposite. Rulers from most involved countries have been forced from power, but the situation did not improve obviously in none of the countries – rather these countries are stuck in chaos. In addition, Syria and Libya fell into civil war, and the instability in the Middle East enabled the Islamic State (IS) group to spread to a threatening barbaric terroristic movement that occupied territories in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

[11] Tobin 2012: Jordan’s Arab Spring: The Middle Class and the Anti-Revolution, p.1

[12] Bayat 2005: Islamism and Social Movement Theory, p. 891+894

[13] Tobin 2012: Jordan’s Arab Spring: The Middle Class and the Anti-Revolution, p.7

[14] Tobin 2012: Jordan’s Arab Spring: The Middle Class and the Anti-Revolution, p.7

[15] Tobin 2012: Jordan’s Arab Spring: The Middle Class and the Anti-Revolution, p.8

[16] Meyer-Resende 2011: International Consensus: Essential Elements of Democracy, p.5, 6

[17] Merriam Webster dictionary (2016): Democracy. Online:

[18] Bobbio 1987/19 cited in: Issues of Democracy, Definitions, online: .html

[19] Williams 2015: Why Income Inequality Threatens Democracy, Rising income inequality in the U.S. damages the democratic system

[20] Callahan 2013: Democracy’s Foe: Economic Inequality. Demos, An equal Say and An Equal Chance for All

[21] Frederick Soft, cited in Williams 2015: Why Income Inequality Threatens Democracy, Rising income inequality in the U.S. damages the democratic system

[22] The terms ‚Separation of Power’ and ‚Balance of Power’ mean that the power oft he three branches of democratic government – the legislative, executive and judiciary- should not be concentrated in one branch, but be districted such that each branch can independently carry out its own respected functions (Meyer-Resende 2011: International Consensus: Essential Elements of Democracy, Democracy Reporting International).

[23] Building Democracy 2015: Definition of Democracy

[24] Ismail 2004: Being Muslim: Islam, Islamism and Identity Politics, p.616

[25] Shavit 2011: Islamotopia: The Muslim Brotherhoods Idea of Democracy, p. 39

[26] Dieterich 2007: Jordanien

[27] Dieterich 2007 : Jordanien

[28] The name of the state was changed to The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on 1 December 1948

[29] Bouziane and Lenner 2011: Protests in Jordan: Rumblings in the Kingdom of Dialogue

[30] Al-Attiyat, Shteiwi, Sweiss 2003: Building Democracy in Jordan, p.15

[31] Al-Attiyat, Shteiwi, Sweiss 2003: Building Democracy in Jordan

[32] Al-Attiyat, Shteiwi, Sweiss 2003: Building Democracy in Jordan

[33] Due to the perceived sensitivity of the issue and the nominal reason that most Palestinians in Jordan are Jordanian citizens and therefore undistinguishable from the rest of the population, there are no official figures about this, but only estimates. The fear is that discourse from the Israeli right referring to Jordan as the alternative Palestinian homeland (al-watan al-badeel) would gain even more currency if there were an official concession about these numbers, and that this would serve to alienate the Transjordanian population segments (Bouziane and Lenner 2011)

[34] The distinction between Jordanian of Palestinian origin and Transjordanian is one of national origin or lineage rather than current citizenship. A Transjordanian is a person who traces his/her origin to the area now known as Jordan. Palestinians trace their ancestry to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, or what is now inside the boundaries of Israel (Bouziane and Lenner 2011)

[35] Bouziane and Lenner 2011: Protests in Jordan: Rumblings in the Kingdom of Dialogue

[36] Freedomhouse 2015/1 Jordan – Freedom in the World, 2015 Scores, Freedom Rating, Civil Liberties, Political Rights

[37] Freedomhouse 2015/1 Jordan – Freedom in the World, 2015 Scores, Freedom Rating, Civil Liberties, Political Rights

[38] Lenner 2007: Parlamentswahlen in Jordanien. Stillstand im Land der Hochglanzdemokratie

[39] Lenner 2007: Parlamentswahlen in Jordanien. Stillstand im Land der Hochglanzdemokratie

[40] Freedomhouse 2015/1 Jordan – Freedom in the World, 2015 Scores, Freedom Rating, Civil Liberties, Political rmits of Political Reform in Joights Rights

[41] National World 2010: In Jordan, one man, one vote, one controversy

[42] Freedomhouse 2015/1 Jordan – Freedom in the World, 2015 Scores, Freedom Rating, Civil Liberties, Political Rights

[43] Freedomhouse 2015/1 Jordan – Freedom in the World, 2015 Scores, Freedom Rating, Civil Liberties, Political Rights

[44] Freedomhouse 2015/1 Jordan – Freedom in the World, 2015 Scores, Freedom Rating, Civil Liberties, Political Rights

[45] Harris 2015: Jordan’s Youth after the Arab Spring, p. 5

[46] Harris 2015: Jordan’s Youth after the Arab Spring, p. 5

[47] Lenner 2007: Parlamentswahlen in Jordanien. Stillstand im Land der Hochglanzdemokratie

[48] Tobin 2012: Jordan’s Arab Spring: The Middle Class and the Anti-Revolution, p.1

[49] Hoekmann 2013: Unreif für Demokratie

[50] King Abdullah II, citation in Mutius 2004

[51] see for example: Leukefeld 2007, Sydow 2008

[52] Mutius 2004 : Jordanien auf Reformkurs oder: Regierung sucht Zivilgesellschaft

[53] Freedomhouse 2015/1: Jordan – Freedom in the World

[54] Mutius 2004 : Jordanien auf Reformkurs oder: Regierung sucht Zivilgesellschaft

[55] Clark 2004: Islam, Charity, and Activism, p. 91

[56] Freedomhouse 2015/1: Jordan – Freedom in the World

[57] Yom 2009: Jordan: Ten more years of Autocracy, p.159

[58] Sydow 2008: Studie zur Demokratie in Jordanien

Excerpt out of 76 pages


Democracy and Islam in Jordan
Democracy in Jordan and the Relationship between the State and the Islamist Movement in Jordan
University of Haifa  (Politics)
Peacekeeping Operations
95 von 100
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
802 KB
Islam, Islamism, Democracy, Jordan, Hashemite Kingdom, Arab Spring, Muslim Brotherhood, IAF, Islamic Action Front
Quote paper
Uta Freyer (Author), 2017, Democracy and Islam in Jordan, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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