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A glorious week for Jordan

May 27,2014 - Last updated at May 27,2014

Last week was a glorious season of celebration for Jordan and the Jordanian people.

Almost simultaneously, the country had to commemorate its National Day, to memorialise the anniversary of the  Al Israa wal Miraj, the Prophet Mohammad’s nocturnal journey during which he travelled on the steed Buraq from Al Masjed Al Haram to Al Masjid Al Aqsa “the farthest mosque” where he then ascends to Heaven to receive instructions from God Almighty to bring back for the faithful.

This is a very important day that the entire Muslim world has been celebrating annually with distinct reverence as a most significant event in the Muslim calendar for the last 14 centuries.

The uniqueness of the Jordanian situation is that all Jordanians, regardless of their religious affiliation, celebrate all national and religious occasions together as one community bound by similar aspirations and shared cardinal ideals.

Jordanian Christian-Muslim relations have always been recognised as exemplary, in the sense that genuine social harmony had always naturally prevailed.

Governed by their firm belief that true religious values unite rather than divide, all Jordanians, in this spirit, celebrate together their religious as well as their national festivities.

It is as a result of this that all Jordanians welcomed the historic visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land earlier this week, a visit that the Pontiff started from the Jordanian gate and was welcomed in generally the same manner that the country as a whole welcomed the Al Israa wal Miraj and the Jordanian Independence Day, despite the varied nature of each of the three occasions.

The symbolism of the coincidence of the three important occasions could not be overlooked. The mission of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, was clearly to perform a pilgrimage for peace in a land that has been deprived of peace and stability for decades.

The Jordanian commitment to regional peace and security, to orderly relations among the peoples of the region, based on justice and legality, as well as the Jordanian belief that all the countries of the region should be guaranteed safe and secure existence must have contributed to distinguishing Jordan as the proper gate for entry to the region, particularly when the visitors’ goals are compatible with the very cherished aspirations of the majority of the region’s population.

Despite the fact that Jordan has been in the eye of the storm for decades, it has been moving out of one major crisis to instantly enter a more serious one. Although this determined country has been shouldering responsibilities well beyond its modest means, it has the right to be proud about navigating in rough political waters with remarkable success.

The so-called Arab Spring, which swept indiscriminately across the region over three years ago, toppling regimes and destabilising states, has hardly affected the Jordanian situation.

Actually its effect has been to bring all Jordanians closer to each other with the avowed intention to protect the country’s accomplishments and to further promote the unique standing of the country.

The chaos that prevails in the many Arab countries that surround Jordan has also prompted all Jordanians to stand together to defend the country against such trends and to demonstrate their unshakeable commitment to the Hashemite leadership.

That is why the country managed not only to sustain exceptional stability and internal security, but also to proceed with its development plans despite a severe and persistent economic crisis.

Indeed, the last few days were unique. They further demonstrated the confidence of the Jordanians in the validity and credibility of their national cause; they bolstered the Jordanian belief that if democracy is a primary prerequisite for a healthy society, true democratisation can only be achieved if citizens’ freedom, dignity and uncompromised rights are upheld.

This is the road on which we have been treading for years. It will remain our course of action for the future.

This is the unique Jordanian formula that has kept the country together, united around its leadership and its national institutions, in the face of tough political challenges over the decades.

Commemorating religious or national occasions can and does happen all the time and in all countries.

There is a difference, however, when such celebrations fit well in the national context and become part of the grander national project, which is exactly Jordan’s case.

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