- Middle East/North Africa
The Jama’a al-Islamiya intends to present a plan for organizing vigilante justice committees to the Shura Council within a few days, said on Thursday Khaled al-Iskandarany, spokesperson for the group’s Construction and Development Party.
The committees would be under the supervision of the National Security Council, the Interior Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the president, ensuring that the citizen justice bodies could not start imposing their own rule of law, Iskandarany assured.
“We suggest the vigilantes of each district should composed be of its residents, have a uniform and wear ID tags,” Iskandarany said, adding that the committees should be funded by the state. He also said the Jama’a al-Islamiya was considering imposing a rule that the vigilantes could not be affiliated to one political party or movement.
Each committee would include an armed member of the police force, or be in direct contact with the nearest police station, the spokesperson said.
Ahmed Darrag, a leading figure of the National Salvation Front, argued that such committees would be “vengeful,” not vigilant. “They will be Islamist militias in the hands of the president, used to kill and arrest his opponents,” he warned.
Islamist groups have held marches in support of the formation of such committees as an alternative to the police force, which has been striking as policemen demand to be armed in light of ongoing street violence. The plan drew criticism among political forces, and the president has said security would remain the sole responsibility of the Interior Ministry.
The Jama’a al-Islamiya carried out several political assassinations in the 1980s and 1990s, but recently announced that it has revoked violence.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm