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Muslim youth take initiative to guard churches as Easter celebrated

By Suzanna Goussous - Apr 15,2017 - Last updated at Apr 15,2017

Christians perform rituals on Palm Sunday in Amman last week (Photo by Hassan Tamimi)

AMMAN — After the attacks on two churches in Egypt last week, Muslim Jordanian youth launched an initiative to protect churches all over the Kingdom on Easter Sunday, in an act of solidarity, they said.

Daesh claimed responsibility for the attacks on two Coptic churches in Egypt’s Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday, which killed around 44 and injured more than 100 worshippers, many of whom were children.

Kazem Kharabsheh wrote: “On Sunday, our Christian brothers and sisters will be in churches [performing] religious [rituals], [and] extremists [are] threatening our national security… My Muslim friends and I will be in Balqa Governorate, protecting its churches and people.”

There have been no direct threats by terrorists to attack churches in Jordan, although Daesh has been repeatedly issuing statements of threats against the Kingdom’s security. 

Another Balqa resident, Fayez Ruqeidi, added the vigilante act is meant to “underline the unity of Jordanians and to give everyone the freedom to practise their religion without restraints or fear”.

In Madaba, Hazem Al Fouqaha said many Muslim residents will stand as guards in front of churches to ensure the safety of Christians inside. 

Saleh Abu Mahfoud from Zarqa Governorate, some 19km east of Amman, announced his willingness to protect churches in the area, along with other activists to show solidarity with Christians celebrating Easter.

Activists in Ajloun voiced a similar stand to “show the world the harmony and conviviality in Jordan” and to present a model of a fight against extremism, xenophobia, and radicalism.

“We are always proud to say Jordan is made up of harmonious pieces of mosaics; it’s truly sad to see such security measures taken out of necessity in Jordan. We live in a small country and we know everyone here,” Amman resident Hala Saadi told The Jordan Times.

Several security checkpoints were installed on the gates of some churches around the country, as a way to ensure protection of worshippers.

Father Rifat Bader from the Amman-based Catholic Centre for Studies and Media said installing checkpoints at church gates is only a normal measure “to help the security personnel, who are always present on every religious occasion”.

 

Palm Sunday in Jordan was trouble free.

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Next step: Respect and protect Jews.

ONCE AGAIN, I AM VERY GLAD TO HAVE OPENED THIS DEBATE AND I WILL LOVE TO KEEP IT GOING BECAUSE THIS IS THE ONLY WAY WE CAN TALK TO ONE ANOTHER, CONFRONT OUR DIFFERENCES AND COME UP WITH A SOLUTION FROM THIS CYCLE OF DISTRACTIONS FROM WHAT WE OWE TO OUR CHILDREN, OUR COUNTRY AND MAN'S HUMANITY TO MAN. IT IS NICE THAT SOME ONE HAS NOW TABLED THE TABOO ISSUE OF FAMILY AND WHO CAN MARRY WHO. THIS IS IMPORTANT AS IT IS NOT ONLY LIMITTED TO RELIGION BECAUSE ANY JORDANIAN WOMAN WHO MARRIES A NON JORDANIAN MAN IS ALSO EXILED BECAUSE JORDAN ONLY ISSUE PASSPORTS TO ALL THE FAMILIES OF A JORDANIAN MAN WHO MARY FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD BUT NOT THEIR WOMEN WHO MARRY OUTSIDE JORDAN. THIS TELLS US ONE THING WHICH IS THAT UNCONDITIONAL LOVE CAN AFFECT AND MODIFY OUR POLICIES. NOW THAT THE YOUNG JORDANIAN CHILDREN HAVE VOLUNTERED TO PROACTIVELY PROTECT THEIR FRIENDS, BROTHERS, SISTERS AND FELLOW JORDANIANS FROM ANY ACT OF VIOLENCE AT THEIR PLACES OF WORSHIP, IT MAY SIGNAL A CHANGE IN OUR HEARTS THROUGH UNCONDITIONAL LOVE THAT WILL MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLES OF DIFFERENT FAITHS TO INTER-MARRY. IF THE FUTURE GENERATION HAS DECIDED TO DO GOOD AND CHANGE THE BUNKER MENTALITY THAT IT IS HARAM FOR A CHRISTIAN TO MARRY A MUSLIN, WHAT I HAVE TO SAY IS THAT THERE IS ONLY BUT ONE GOD AND WE ALL WORSHIP BUT ONE GOD SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?. SPEAKING ABOUT SOMEONE WHO IS AFRAID OF DEPORTATION BECAUSE HE OR SHE MARRIED A MUSLIN IS DANGEROUS AND HORRIBLE BUT NOT AS EXPLOSSIVE AND INHUMAN AS THE JORDANIAN SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT ACCEEPT THEIR GRAND CHILDREN, THEIR IN LAWS AND EVEN THEIR DAUGHTERS IF THEY ARE MARRIED TO A NON JORDANIAN MAN. ASK ME AND MY FAMILY BECAUSE WE ARE VICTIMS TO THIS FIRST CENTURY MENTALITY ABOUT THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN JORDAN. WILL THIS ACT AS A COVER FOR ME TO DENY THE FACT THAT JORDAN IS AMONG THE BEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD WHEN IT COMES TO RELIGIOUS TOLORANCE. ABSOLUTELY NOT BECAUSE JORDAN HAVE HAD EXCELLENT QUALITY IN THE PAST AND IT IS STILL THE CASE NOW AND WILL EVER BE BECAUSE YOUR YOUNGER GENERATION DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY THEY SHOULD HATE THEIR FRIENDS AND CLASSMATES BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITH. REGARDING WHAT THE WRITER SAID ABOUT DEPORTATION AND INTER-MARRIAGE, IT IS INTERESTING BECAUSE IF THE COMMON DENOMINATOR OF RELIGION IS SERVING OUR LORD THY GOD, THEN THESE YOUTHS HAVE SET A NEW STANDARD OF CIVILITY THAT CAN ACT AS A CATALYST TOWARDS THE ELIMINATION OF ALL RELIGIOUS RELATED VIOLENCE, DISCRIMINATION AND GENDER BASHING. THERE IS NO SECTION OR PARAGRAPH OF THE JORDANIAN CONSTITUTION THAT SAID THAT JORDANIAN WOMEN DO NOT HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS AS MEN AND YET JORDAN REJECTS AND EXILE THEIR DAUGHTERS WHEN THE MARRY A NON JORDANIAN MAN. COULD RELIGION BE A REASON FOR THIS MIS-INTERPRETATION OF THE JORDANIAN CONSTITUTION? THE ANSWER IS ABSOLUTELY YES AND IT IS THE DUTY OF THESE YOUTHS WHO HAVE REASONS TO QUESTION WHY THEY CAN NOT PROTECT THEIR BROTHERS AND SISTERS. FOR THE PERSON WHO HAVE BROUGHT THIS ISSUE OF MARRIAGE AND DEPORTATION, I WANT HIM OR HER TO KNOW THAT I HAVE BEEN MARRIED TO A JORDANIAN WOMAN FOR OVER TWENTY-FIVE YEARS, LIVED IN JORDAN FOR OVER 26 YEARS, RAISED OUR SON IN JORDAN BUT STILL NEITHER I NOR OUR SON CAN DRIVE THE FAMILY CAR IN JORDAN AND THAT WE CAN ONLY LIVE IN JORDAN ON VISAS, THAT MY WIFE WORKED FOR THE JORDANIAN GOVERNMENT FOR YEARS BUT OUR SON COULD NOT GET HEALTH INSURANCE FROM HER JOB TO COVER OUR SON NEVER MIND ME(HIS FATHER), THAT WE CAN NOT LEGALLY WORK IN JORDAN AND SO ON. PUBLIC POLICY IS A FUNCTION OF WHO GETS WHAT, WHEN AND HOW SO IF THESE FUTURE JORDANIANS WITH CHANGE OF HEART IS THE ONLY SOLUTION TO MOVE US ALL INTO THE FUTURE, SO BE IT. I WILL LOVE TO LIVE AND SEE A DAY WHEN JORDAN CAN EXTRAPULATE ITS POLICY OF RELIGIOUS AND FAITH NEUTRALITY TO INCLUDE GENDER NEUTRALITY AND SO LET US ENCOURAGE THE KINGDOM BY ABSOLUTELY GIVEN THE COUNTRY AN " A+ ) GRADE FOR BEING A MODEL FOR PEACE THROUGH TOLORANCE, GOOD PUBLIC SERVICE AND RRELIGIOUS TOLORANCE. REGARDLESS OF WHO PROVIDES THE SECURITY AT THE HOUSES OF WORSHIPS, IT IS THE THOUGHT OF IT THAT MATTERS AND WE SHOULD ALL BE GRATEFUL TO ANY ONE WHO HAS THE IDEAS ON HOW WE CAN ALL LIVE IN PEACE RATHER THAN PIECES. PLEASE MY IN LAWS, KEEP IT COMMING SO THAT WE CAN BETTER UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER TO CREATE A BETTER FUTURE FOR OUR CHILDREN. GOD BLESS JORDAN, JORDANIANS AND THE GOVERNMENT.

Love one another as I have loved you. All one under God.

* Murrad, again it s culture more than religion when it comes to converting.. cause Christians there would do it as well !! Ten years ago a Jordanian Christian lady was on the news for being so scared to be deported back there from Canada cause she married a muslim !

HAVE I OPPENED CAN OF WORMS?. YES BUT GOOD WORMS WHICH I DEFINE AS ANY STIMULUS THAT CAN BRING US ALL TOGETHER AND UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER BECAUSE PEACE KNOWS NO BOUNDRIES BECAUSE ITS ALL ABOUT LOVE, HARMONY AND UNITY. WE ARE ALL THE CHILDREN OF GOD AND GOD IS EVERY WHERE WE GO, LIVE AND WORK. WE SHOULD ALL GIVE CREDIT WHERE ONE IS DUE AND WE SHOULD ALL BE PROUD OF JORDAN AND GIVE CREDIT TO HIS MAJESTY, THE GOVERNMENT OF JORDAN AND ALL JORDANIANS FOR THEIR TOLORANCE, SETTING THE A SIMPLE EXAMPLE HOW WE CAN ALL LIVE TOGETHER AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER. BY THE WAY, I AM NOT A JORDANIAN SO I AM NOT BIASED OR JUST MALENGERING BUT STATING THE FACTS. I AM ONLY MARRIED TO A JORDANIAN AND WE HAVE ONE SON THAT WE BROUGHT UP IN JORDAN BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT WE KNEW THAT HE WILL BE A BETTER PERSON WITH SOLID FOUNDATION AND HE DID NOT DISSAPPOINT. HE RETURNED BACK TO HIS COUNTRY OF BIRTH (USA), DID HIS BS/MS IN ENGINEERING IN 4.5 YEARS IN BOSTON AND NOW AT YALE UNIVERSITY AND THANKS TO JORDAN AND THE JORDANIAN CULTURAL VALUES OF TOLORANCE, LOVE, UNITY, COLOR AND RELIGIOUS BLIND. DO ANY PERSON HAVE ISSUES WITH THIS?. I DO NOT THINK SO AND I OWE HIS SUCCESS TO JORDAN. I DO NOT KNOW OR UNDERSTAND HOW THE WORLD HAS BECOME MORE POLARIZED WITH A RELIGION THAT HAS BEEN WITH US FOR CENTURIES, CONTRIBUTED A LOT TOWARDS CIVILIZATION MY RELIGION WHICH HAPPENS TO BE CHRISTIANITY. WE SHOULD ALL CONSIDER TAKING A BREAK FROM BICKERING ABOUT RELIGION AND WORSHIP OUR GOD IN ANY WAY WE SEE FIT IN ACCORDANCE WITH RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE. WE SHOULD ALL BE HAPPY BEING JORDANIANS, FRIENDS OF JORDAN AND ANY OTHER REASON(S) THAT BRINGS US ALL TO JORDAN.

Lovely gesture. Lovely country.

So reassuring to see a force for non-violence, peace, and unity. Blessings to you.

GOOD COMMENTS SO KEEP IT COMMING. AFTER READING ALL THE COMMENTS FOLLOWING MY POSTING, ANY PERSON CAN SEE THE COMMON DENOMINATOR THAT DEVELOPED WHICH IS HATE CRIME IN THE NAME OF ANY RELIGION. IF SO, I THINK THAT MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN JORDAN CAN SEE WITH ME THAT JORDAN IS UNIQUE, CLEAN AND SHOULD BE RESPECTED FOR BEING A MODEL OF RELIGIOUS TOLORANCE FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT ANY PERSON HAS DONE BUT WHAT WE THINK AND DO WHICH WE CAN USE AS A TOOL TO CLEAN UP ANY FORM OF HATE FROM ANY WHERE IN THE WORLD. I AM NOT BY ANY MEANS TRYING TO BE PETROTIC FOR THE SAKE OF PETROTISM BUT TO STATE FACTUAL CORRECT STATEMENT. THE STATUS OF JORDAN TODAY IN THE WORLD REFLECT TO THIS FACT THAT ANY PERSON FROM ANY WHERE IN THE WORLD CAN FEEL SAFE IN JORDAN AND THAT JORDANIANS DO NOT DISCRIMINATE ON THE BASIS OF RELIGION. IN FACT ANY TOURIST WHO ARRIVE IN JORDAN CAN NOT EVEN TELL THAT JORDAN IS PREDOMINENTLY A MUSLIN COUNTRY BECAUSE OF PEOPLE'S RECEPTION, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND ALL. DEAR IN LAWS, YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU ARE, WHOM YOU ARE, WHAT YOU DO AND FORGET ABOUT THOSE WHO DO BAD THINGS BECAUSE ITS UP TO GOD TO JUDGE THEM.

Although it is an act of solidarity, but I find it simply hypocritical of them. It's great to protect someone from harm and that is EVERYONE's duty (not Muslims' only), but they are very much likely to do harm to anyone who decides to leave Islam. They would ostracize him or even kill him. ٍSo where do they stand exactly with non-Muslims? I really want to know.

It's more than a gesture. They literally put themselves as a barrier in harms way to protect Christians. This happens in other mainly Muslim countries too. Just as we are limited in what we can do to stop terrorists, they are also limited. The vast majority of Muslims do speak out against this evil and because of that the extremists consider them as the enemy too.

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