From the first moment of its inception on 13 September 1990, Yemeni Islah Party has done everything possible for the welfare and awareness of Yemeni people and contributed to serving them in all walks of life. In addition, Islah has established a systematic work of change based on useful and practical programs and practices, which have nothing to do with militia work, which believes only in force in bringing about the change process and achieving its objectives just like what has been done by some groups and parties in the country.
The struggle of Yemeni Islah Party has been based on peaceful change and democratic principles, away from the language of violence and terrorism. The party continues to lead an awareness process regarding dangers of terrorism in different fields and local and international forums.
Yemeni Islah Party has also worked to make rejection of violence and terrorism and the use of force to impose opinion or thought part of its various literatures. At every station and turning point the country passes through, Islah does not miss a single opportunity to raise awareness about terrorist dangers or terrorist behavior, which affect the interests of the country. The peaceful work has become one of the most important elements an pillars of the party that calls for the renunciation of violence and terrorism, and encourages peaceful struggle to achieve the objectives in accordance with the constitution, laws and legislation in Yemen.
The Islah Party has been subjected to misleading and smear campaigns by rival parties, factions and groups, which are trying hard to distort its image and have made false accusations against it, in a desperate attempt to remove it from the scene so that they face no obstacles on their way to monopolize power and wealth.
When some of these parties, groups and currents reached power, they have committed the most heinous crimes and used the worst means of oppression against the Yemeni people. Not only that, they also adopted small projects to break the country up and bring it into instability and chaos.
Islah’s fight against violence and terrorism was neither opportunistic or self-promotion to attract the attention of the regional or international community for the purpose of gaining some gains, nor evasive reactions. Rather, its fight against terrorist ideology and behavior stems from a firm belief and is based on a broad reform process launched in conjunction with the emergence of the party.
To demonstrate the above, some simple examples of the party’s literature and conferences will be here reviewed:
Paragraph 11 of the final communiqué read: the General Conference affirms its firm and resolute stance against all forms of violence and terrorism, while at the same time reiterating its constant call for the serious and objective search for the reasons that feed the hotbeds of terrorism and are suffered by almost all societies. Just as Yemeni Islah Party rejects all forms of terrorism, it also rejects all evil calls and attempts link Islam with terrorism and label its followers as terrorists. It also refuses to use terrorism as a cover for practicing the worst forms of terrorism, violence and hegemony in order to enslave others and deprive peoples of their rights to freedom, independence and decent life.
Islah also praises each means or alliance to combat terrorism. In his speech on the 26th anniversary of the party's birth, the party leader said: Yemeni Islah Party stresses that Islamic alliance initiated by Saudi Arabia to confront terrorism is a great achievement that must be more reinforced and maintained, and that the Islamic countries are more concerned than others to spearhead any campaigns against terrorist phenomena, which have arisen as a result of the perverted understanding of Islam, as being more affected than others by this understanding.
Islah Party has worked on rationalizing the religious discourse so that it is based on spreading love and peace and promoting extremism, fanaticism and extremism in all media platforms, including awareness and educational platforms. This speech has positively reflected on the ground. It has never happened that one of its followers has ever attacked state or private institutions, or engaged in religious or political incitement.
All of its members, including leaders, thinkers, writers, intellectuals and media professionals, still devote the discourse that unifies people and promotes tolerance towards all currents. Through their writings, they make every attempt to make people aware of all tricks and means extremists use to promote their misguided ideas. Party members have given a vivid picture of this regard, which in turn has created a broad cultural validity among society. However, this validity has collided with bloodthirsty terrorists of al-Qaeda and Houthis who eagerly try to seize control of power and wealth. This ultimately resulted in the coup taken place on 21 September 2014 and the attempt to rebel against the revolution and the republic.
Continuous condemnation of terrorism
With every terrorist incident taking place in the country or abroad, Yemeni Islah Party is quick to condemn terrorist incidents and send various awareness messages with the aim of protecting societies and cultures from the language of incitement, intellectual or cultural intolerance, or false understanding of controversial religious texts misused by extremists to carry out their terrorist activities.
Here are some of the local, regional or international incidents condemned by Islah:
In a statement issued on November 14, 2015, Yemeni Islah Party strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Paris. "Yemeni Islah Party condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks on the French capital Paris on Saturday, which resulted in the killing and injury of dozens of innocent people," the statement said.
In the same statement, the party condemned another terrorist operation taken place in Lebanon, saying: “The party also condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attackon Burj al-Barajnehneighborhood in Lebanese capital Beirut yesterday evening, which left dozens dead and hundreds injured. The statement added, “ Islah calls upon the world’s governments, parties and elites to seriously tackle this dangerous phenomenon of terrorism that spreads like an epidemic.”
"Islah affirms that putting an end to terrorism calls for a national strategy in which the efforts of all forces and components are united in order to confront this dangerous scourge that poses threat to all”, the statement added. The statement pointed out that the integration of these criminal forces have been manifested through the coup led by Saleh-Houthi alliance and the exchange of their roles, which gives a clear indication that the groups of violence have the same belief no matter how different names and banners are.
The party reaffirmed its principled position against violence and terrorism in all its forms, and called for the need to complete the building of security institutions and apparatuses on sound national bases so that they can play their role in protecting citizens and securing public and private institutions in cooperation with military units and the legitimate government.
Support for fight against terrorism
Not only did Islah condemn terrorist operations, he also continued to call for fighting terrorism and he supported every action and step to combat terrorist organizations and tackle the misunderstanding of religious concepts.
On Tuesday, December 15, 2016, Islah party leader Mohammed al-Yadoumi welcomed the establishment of an Islamic Saudi-led alliance to counter terrorism, saying, "forming this alliance consisting of 34 Islamic countries is a sign that the body of the Islamic world is still fine and capable of taking collective action to deal with the problems and dangers involved.
Al-Yadoumi continued, "We consider the existence of this alliance a good and correct step to deal with the terror disease that has ravaged the Islamic countries, disturbed the international community, distorted the image of Islam and Muslims around the world and gave the enemies of the Muslim nation an opportunity to level this accusation against the religion of compassion and humanity. Terror in the name of Islam has given foreign powers to intervene in Islamic countries under the pretext to counter terrorism. Thus, we hope this alliance will strengthen the ability of the Islamic nation to unite at the time of alliances and blocs, and tighten the bonds of cooperation among them in various fields, which enhance their security and stability and provide them with all the causes and factors of factors of civilizational advancement.”
State as protective shield against terrorism
Yemeni Islah Party has always sought a state enjoying strong institutions and worked on establishing and strengthening it at all stages of the organization. Islah sees the state as the guarantor and protector against terrorism, and as the wall on which the citizen leans for help.
"Just as terrorism threatens the lives of individuals by dropping their bodies in the midst of their blood, it threatens in a more dangerous way societies and plunge their countries in chaos so that people remain without any support and backing, being stripped of supportive force that provides them with protection (…) having society without state is the ideal setting for terrorism to turn into entities enjoying authority," said Adnan al-Odaini, deputy head of Islah’s media department.
"The national state and the rule of law, coupled with the hard work for them, is the effective treatment for this debilitating disease. Establishing the rule of law, spreading knowledge and fighting ignorance are the most effective solutions for a stable Yemen without violence and terrorism. In parallel with the path of restoring the state, there must be another path at the heart of society to rebuild religious awareness in accordance with the purposes of Islam, which nullify privileges and uphold equality”, al-Odaini continued.
In order to implement this vision, Islah has never resorted to imposing its demands by force. For example, the party has always turned to the concerned security authorities, demanding investigations and protection whenever its headquarters were exposed to attacks, refusing any actions beyond the ordinary powers of law and state.
On Friday, May 25, 2012, an armed group of the southern separatist movement in Aden besieged the headquarters of Islah Party. The party leaders in the governorate demanded the security services to carry out their duties in providing the necessary protection to the party headquarters, despite their ability to protect themselves and their headquarters. However, Islah that calls upon state institutions to carry out their duties wanted to strengthen the behavior of resorting to state institutions.
There are various incidents in which Islah turned to the state institutions to settle many cases away from self-actions.
Attempts to push Islah into violence
Yemeni Islah Party, in all the various stations, has worked to avoid clashes with all political forces and competing groups and currents, despite their desperate attempts to do so, in order to preserve civil peace and not bring the country into sectarian or civil wars.
In 2014, when Islah leaders headed for the stronghold of Houthis, Sa’ada province, to talk to the Houthi militia leader as an attempt to spare the country different conflicts, some looked at this as acquiescence or weakness. However, Islah eagerly wanted to get the country out of trouble, although all political forces stood united in escalation and incitement against Islah Party and wanted the both parties collide with each other.
Such desperate attempts have been also made by ousted president who wanted to embroil Islah Party in the six wars of Sa’da, but Islah was cautious and smart enough not to fall into the trap of this plot masterminded to provoke a sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites. Unfortunately, Houthis accepted to be a dirty tool used by ousted president, and involved in his plots starting in 2011 until now.
The speeches of Islah leaders in both parts of Yemen were keen not to plunge into these conflicts. When some militias attacked the headquarters of Islah in Hadhramaut, Lahj and Aden during 2013 and 2014, it was intended to fuel conflict, but the party leaders refused to do so and still refuse to be brought into internal conflicts, despite the continued incitement against it.
Just a week ago, the head of the Supreme Council of Yemeni Islah Party, in response to setting fire to their headquarters in Aden: "Whatever you try, you would never bring us into violence,” adding, "nations are neither sold nor bought ...!”
The secretary of the Executive Office of Islah in Wadi Hadhramaut, Hasan said; “We in Islah are advocates for peace and soldiers to build a safe homeland, and can never be a tool to demolish historic national achievements. We have decided not to confront and clash with any other party because our political entity will not replace the state, rather it is an integral part of this people. All attempts to drag Islah into the square of conflict and violence have failed and will fail due to the commitment of its members to directives and their confidence in the leadership.