Monday, March 10, 2008

Some update on the situation in Jordan

Time to give you an update on the situation in Jordan, where many expatriate Christians have been told to leave the country. AFP today quoted former MP Odeh Kawwas, a Greek- Orthodox Christian. "Missionary groups have hidden agendas and are close to Christian Zionists," according to Kawwas.

"For years we have been urging the government to close such Christian shops that have nothing to do with Christianity and tolerance," said Kawwas, referring to missionaries who convert Muslims in violation of the law. "These groups don't belong to any church, but they try to hunt followers of other churches and trick some of our Muslim brothers to convert them," he added.

Fellow Christian Fahd Kheitan, an outspoken columnist at Al-Arab Al-Yawm newspaper, said the majority of Christians are "very suspicious and worried" because "the (missionaries) target the strong beliefs of traditional churches in Jordan and try to create religious links with the Zionist movement, which is extremely dangerous."

Kheitan asserts that Washington has put pressure on its allies in Amman to allow missionaries into the country, where he says these groups have used their relations with some officials to "build a base. But the kingdom has realised now that the situation threatens the internal front," Kheitan said.

Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem and Jordan said recently that some foreign missionaries "have undeclared political positions and we do not want the image of Christianity to be distorted."

In 2005 the Washington Post quoted Nabeeh Abbassi, president of the Jordan Baptist Convention, as saying:, "We're seeing more and more Muslim conversions, not less than 500 a year" in Jordan over the past decade. He told the newspaper that about 10,000 Evangelicals worship at 50 churches in Jordan.

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