WAR OF WORDS RESUMES [Archives:2001/47/Front Page]

November 19 2001

The war of words between the two strongest parties, the General People’s Congress (GPC) and Islah, resumed with strong momentum last week. Al-Thowrah official daily lashed an offensive criticism last week against the Yemeni Congregation for Reform (Islah, the biggest Islamic party in Yemen). In its editorial, the paper accused Islah of extremism, inciting problems in society and using Islam as a slogan to achieve its own personal interests.
The newspaper said that Islah’s refusal of the merging of the scholastic (religious) institutes serves only the interests of a group of crooked officials in the party who benefited from the budgets of these institutes. The paper said Islah’s attack on the government and the Ministry of Education, which accused it of minimizing the time of the Qur’an classes in the school, aims to preserve the interests of those people who have exercised a sort of thought terrorism against society and have launched figures in Islah itself.
The newspaper also strongly criticized the statement released by the Shura Council of Islah at the end of a three-day routine meeting. The statement of Islah appealed to President Ali Abdullah Saleh to prevent the deterioration of the education state in the country, considering the government’s measures against the scholastic institutes a crime and a step towards abolishing religious education, which achieves the the interests and demands of the Zionists and their voices in Arab countries.
The statement called upon the government to stop its economic policies that brought more sufferings to masses, demanding it undertake a clear policy to curb poverty and a policy that follows the Islamic Sharia.
It also criticized the government’s policy with regards to investments and foreign loans.
The Islah expressed concern over the freedom and human rights issues, criticizing official media (TV) for showing immoral scenes. Islah asked the government to adopt transparency in dealing with important national interests, and spell out its attitude towards the political and security agreements between Yemen and the USA. The statement also condemned the participation of Yemen in the ministerial conference of the WTO in Doha that was attended by Israel. It also criticized attacks on both the USA and Afghanistan, condemning listing the liberation and resistance Lebanese and Palestinian organizations as terrorist. It called for supporting the Afghan people and dialogue among civilizations on the basis of cooperation.
The Al-Sahwa, mouthpiece of the Islah Party strongly criticized the state-owned Al-Thowrah Daily. This media war between the two parties over the scholastic institutes, which were supported by Islah figures, has worsened the relationship between the two parties.
The two parties have undergone tremendously tense relations during the local elections that were held at the beginning of this year, resulting in a war of words and an exchange of accusations through their mouthpiece newspapers.