Muslim Brotherhood Assails Syria’s Decision to Silence Forums
Albawaba.com - Amman
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has severely attacked a recent decision by the authorities in Damascus to ban political forums, at which reformists have demanded changes in the country’s sealed political life.
In a statement to Albawaba.com from London, overall leader of the opposition movement, Mohammad Ali Bayanouni, described the decision as a way of dragging the country back to the era of martial law.
“The Muslim Brotherhood was optimistic that the regime allowed them [the activists] to speak their minds, but apparently, it is still living with the mentality of the 1970s,” the leading Islamist said.
Bayanouni was referring to statements dubbed the 1000-signature document and the 99 Document, after the number of the signatories, who included intellectuals and political activists demanding freedom of speech and liberalization of the country.
“What the forum goers demand now was what we struggled for in the early eighties during the uprising [the armed conflict between the group and the Syrian authorities]. Then we called for abolishing all the laws restricting public freedom. The difference is that those who adopt the call now are the regime’s men,” the overall leader said.
Speaker of the Syrian parliament, or People’s Assembly, Abdul Qader Qadoura, has agreed to lift immunity of MP Riyadh Seif to open way way for a motion against him on charges of violating the constitution after the deputy published a statement on his new movement, Social Peace.
Seif announced last month the guidelines for his new party, calling for “free elections and equal opportunities for all parties and political forces.” He also demanded independence for the judiciary and separation between authorities.
The MP proposed in the statement that a body be formed to draft a new constitution to be submitted for public approval via a referendum.
The motion against Seif came parallel to a directive issued by the authorities banning political gatherings without a prior permission. Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam has criticized the activists accusing them of “exceeding the red lines.”
A sociologist taking part in the reform campaign, Najati Tayyara, said the authorities have “summoned us and said that a permission should be obtained 15 days in advance, and drafts of the lectures should be attached to the petition.”
In a recent interview with the London-based Ashark Al Awsat Arabic daily, President Bashar Assad said that the openness policy in his country should take into consideration “security and stability in the country.”
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