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Interfaith relations in Jordan

Sep 25,2017 - Last updated at Sep 25,2017

Last week, I had the privilege of reading the book “Fortress of Peace: Jordan’s’ Interfaith Drive and Model of Coexistence”, penned by Rula H. Samain. 

Miss Samain is a holder of a master’s degree in education, writes for newspapers and hosts a TV show which she produces as well.

The book presents a brighter picture of interfaith relations in Jordan. To demonstrate such societal cohesiveness, she treats her theme from different angles.

In the first chapter, she takes us on a trip through the various dimensions of the interfaith philosophy of the Hashemites. From 1916, when the Arab Revolt began, to this date, the Hashemites adopted overall non-discriminatory principles.

“Arab” is the collective identity, regardless of faith. The emphasis on merit and governance narrowed down the chances of discrimination and created equal opportunities to all components.

She tells how King Abdullah was the first leader to visit Washington after the September 11 Twin Towers explosions. He rejected any notions that such heinous crimes were in any way related to Islam. He also pledged his unwavering support to the fight against terrorism and its defeat.

Prince Hassan also devoted a sizeable share of his efforts to highlight the principles of interfaith dialogue and the common values of peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Christians the world over. He entrenched these ideals through his numerous visits to the Papal Sea and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Eastern Orthodox churches in Athens, Jerusalem and Istanbul, and the Coptic Church in Cairo. He also created the Interfaith Dialogue Institute, which is still actively engaged in this matter.

The Message of Amman and other documents were initiated and sponsored by the Royal Hashemite family members who hold this ideal of tolerance and coexistence very close to their hearts.

In chapter two, Samain evaluates the interfaith initiatives and puts them in their logical and dynamic perspective. 

In chapter three, the author has statements of evaluation from world-class Muslim and Christian scholars and clergymen on Jordan’s interfaith experience.

Chapter four provides a fascinating analysis of the “oral heritage of coexistence”.

She surveys the history of the Christian community in Jordan and the analysis serves to augment the accepted notion that Christians are the salt of the earth and an integral part of Jordan.

She cites her articles on Christian sites in various towns in Jordan, which stand as a testimony to that historical bondage. 

In the last chapter, she mentions certain famous legal cases that create problematic issues and lead to long legal battles.

Interfaith marriage is an example of such problems that arouse people when they occur. It still happens, it does not go away easily and it could create tribal as well as religious feuds.

The book tries to reflect in a balanced manner the nature of relations between Muslim and Christian components of the Jordanian society.

Jordan’s is an honourable record which has survived the test of time.

The author deserves congratulations for a well-balanced and thought-stimulating book.

 

 

The writer is a former Royal Court chief, deputy prime minister and member of Senate. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

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Comments

IT IS VERY NICE FOR MR ANANI TO SHARE THIS EXPERIENCE WITH THE PUBLIC AND THE WORLD AT LARGE BECAUSE THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IS TAKEN FOR GRANTED IN JORDAN. AS I HAVE ALWAYS MAINTAINED, JORDANIANS ARE VERY OPEN MINDED AND IN FACT RELIGIOUS NEUTRAL SO THE BOOK ON INTERFAITH IN JORDAN IS A PART OF THE JORDANIAN CULTURE. I PARTLY LIVE IN JORDAN AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT RELIGION IS NEVER A FLASH POINT IN JORDAN. THIS IS A COUNTRY WHERE FRIDAY IS A DAY OF WORSHIP FOR ONE FAITH AND SUNDAY IS FOR ANOTHER FAITH AND ALL ARE VERY WELL RESPECTED AND PROTECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT. THIS IS WHAT A GOOD LEADER BRINGS AND PEOPLE RESPONDS. DURING RAMADAN, CHRISTIANS AND OTHER FAITHS ARE THE GUESTS OF THEIR FRIENDS FOR FESTIVALS AND DURING CHRISTMASS, I DO RECEIVE GIFTS FROM FRIENDS WHO ARE MUSLIMS AND WE ALL EAT AND FEAST TOGETHER AND THIS WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY RELIGIOUS RESPECT AND TOLORANCE FOR ONE ANOTHER AND JORDAN IS IN FACT A MODEL OF RELIGIOUS TOLORANCE THAT THE WORLD SHOULD EMULATE. THESE ARE FACTS.

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