Algeria’s radical Muslims in scandal and disarray. Much of the problem seems to come from the harshness of Islamic law itself, which sees “sexual assault” as the inevitable consequence of the simple presence of a man and a woman alone in a house. From Arab News, with thanks to Ali Dashti:
Led by Abdallah Jaballah, Islah is the second political bloc in the Algerian Parliament. Last April it fielded Jaballah as its candidate in the presidential election, which the incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika won in a landslide. Jaballah came in third.
Scandals surrounding the party broke out earlier this week when a member of the leadership, who must remain anonymous for legal reasons, filed a lawsuit claiming that his wife had been “sexually assaulted” by Sadiq Sulayemah, another party leader.
The plaintiff has accused the party’s leadership of trying to cover up the incident along with other instances of “illegitimate sexual activity” at the highest levels.
Sulayemah, a well-known poet, and a life-long friend of Jaballah, has denied the charge, explaining his presence in the plaintiff’s house as an accident.
Party sources said yesterday that the poet had met Jaballah and “confessed to his sins” and asked for pardon. Jaballah is reported to have asked the poet to keep the incident a secret so as not to harm the party.
“It is hard to know what happened at the house,” says Abdul-Ghafour Saadi, the party’s deputy leader. “There were no witnesses to see what our comrade and the lady did.”
Sulayemah has published an ode lampooning unnamed party leaders for their obsessions with adultery and sexual deviation. The scandals come as a blow to a party that has built its platform on the claim that the Algerian society has become corrupted by Western influence.
Last year the party presented a bill to make Algeria alcohol-free by banning the sale of drinks in public places. The bill failed to get enough support for inclusion in the parliamentary agenda. The party has also campaigned to make polygamy legal again, and opposed reforms presented by President Bouteflika to improve the condition of women.
Juhaid Yunesi, the party’s number-three and one of those who have resigned, yesterday blamed Jaballah for “creating a dictatorship to cover immorality with an Islamic vocabulary.”
Another prominent party leader to resign is Miloud Qadiri who led Islah’s group in the National Assembly.
“We cannot invite people to Islam when our party is sinking in immorality,” Qadiri said.
Jaballah first made his name in 1993 when he was named as one of the nine men to form a Majlis Al-Shuyukh (Council of Seniors) at a Pan-Islamist conference held in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital under the chairmanship of Hassan Turabi. Among the council members was Osama Bin Laden.