Imams, Unemployed Youth Protest in Jordan
Over 100 imams held a protest Monday outside the Royal Palace against alleged institutional corruption. The imams and muezzins rallied in downtown Amman in protest over a delay in a previously promised raise in their professional allowances, calling for an investigation into potential corruption at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs. The imams also reiterated their demand to form a professional association to protect their interests. “With the formation of a teachers’ association, we are the largest sector left without a voice,” said Mohammed Abu Rumman, organiser of the Imams Professional Association Preparatory Committee.
Meanwhile, some 20 unemployed Tafileh residents travelled to Amman and held a sit-in in front of the Prime Minister’s office demanding that the government fulfil a pledge to provide employment for some 100 area youths. “We have spent months protesting in Tafileh; now it is time to take our cause directly to the prime minister’s backyard,” said Fadi Abdeen, a Tafileh political activist and spokesman for the unemployed youths. Officials say that they will review the protesters’ demands, but would not confirm whether the government could secure the young men employment during the current fiscal year, in light of a near-record JD2.9 billion deficit.
In related news, Jordan’s Lower House Legal Committee is expected to send the draft elections law to the floor within 10 days. Balqa Deputy Mahmoud Kharabsheh explained that the panel had discussed the legislation, which he described as the “keystone of all the reform-oriented laws” with political parties, professional associations, youth and women’s organisations, legal experts, university professors and human rights activists. However, expressing some disappointment in the process, Kharbasheh said, “What is sad is that the people we met, even representatives of political parties, expressed no unified stance on the draft law.”