In this photo taken Oct. 28, 2014, a Jordanian man walks past a graffiti depicting the flag of ISIS with Arabic that reads "their is only one God and Muhammad is his prophet," in the city of Ma'an, Jordan. (AP/Nasser Nasser)
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Local authorities quickly stripped away public signs of support for ISIS in this desert town.Despite government efforts, support for ISIS is growing in Maan and elsewhere in Jordan, one of the West's key allies in the region, say ISIS activists, members of rival groups and experts on political Islam.Hardcore supporters of ISIS's self-proclaimed "caliphate" likely number in the thousands in a nation of 6.5 million.Up to 2,000 Jordanians are fighting in rebel ranks in Syria and Iraq, most of them with extremist factions, and several hundred have been killed, according to Hassan Abu Haniyeh, an expert on Islamic movements, and Marwan Shehadeh, a scholar who was once part of the ultraconservative Salafi movement.Support for ISIS runs strongest among jihadi Salafis.Experts estimate that the number of Jordan's jihadi Salafis has doubled since the 2011 outbreak of the Arab Spring uprisings, to at least 9,000 hardcore members. They are part of the broader movement of Salafis, who number in the tens of thousands around Jordan. The show of ISIS support in Maan erupted in late June and early July, as ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in the territory his group controls in Iraq and Syria.Abu Abdullah is undiscouraged. He said he expects Jordan to come under the control of ISIS soon, with or without a fight.
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