Category : Jordan

Canon Andrew White–An update from Iraq, Israel and Jordan

With temperatures in the region of 40C/100F, Iraq is in a terrible way, both politically and economically. The parliament has not been meeting, there are violent protests in Baghdad, and the oil revenue is starting to dry up. Despite this, we are still working on the front line. Yesterday, Dr Sarah Ahmed, FRRME’s Director of Operations in the Middle East, gave out 25 kg bags of flour to over 1,000 Iraqi IDP families in Erbil, Northern Iraq.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(Bloomberg) ISIS' 'toxic recipe' gives strength year after caliphate

When Islamic State seized Iraq’s largest northern city of Mosul almost a year ago, tribal leader Hekmat Suleiman was sure the extremist militants wouldn’t expand further into his hometown.

“We bet Islamic State won’t have what it takes to last,” Suleiman said in October during a visit to the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil, smoke rising from his shisha water pipe. “We’ve reached the beginning of the end of extremism.”

He was wrong. His hometown of Ramadi fell last month, three days before Islamic State captured Palmyra, a 2,000-year-old UNESCO world heritage city on the Syrian side of its territory.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Jordan, Lebanon, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(NYT) Christians of Mosul Find Haven in Jordan

They were among the final holdouts. Even as many of their neighbors fled the violence that engulfed Iraq after the American invasion, the three men stayed put, refusing to give up on their country or their centuries-old Christian community.

Maythim Najib, 37, stayed despite being kidnapped and stabbed 12 times in what he believed was a random attack. Radwan Shamra, 35, continued to hope he could survive the sectarian war between his Sunni and Shiite countrymen even after losing two friends shot by an unknown gunman who left their bodies sprawled in a Mosul street. And a 74-year-old too frightened to give his name said he remained despite the trauma of spending three anguished days in 2007 waiting to learn if his kidnapped 17-year-old son was dead or alive.

Now all three men from Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and its environs have fled with their families to Jordan, forced out by Islamic State fighters who left them little choice. After capturing the city in June, the Sunni militant group gave Christians a day to make up their minds: convert, pay a tax, or be killed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iraq, Islam, Jordan, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

An AP Sun. evening Story on Pope Francis's Holy Land visit–Pope gives Palestinians boost of support

Pope Francis delivered a powerful boost of support to the Palestinians during a Holy Land pilgrimage Sunday, repeatedly backing their statehood aspirations, praying solemnly at Israel’s controversial separation barrier and calling the stalemate in peace efforts “unacceptable.”

In an unscripted move, Francis arranged a meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian presidents at the Vatican next month. The meeting, while largely symbolic, shows how the pope has sought to transform his immensely popular appeal into a moral force for peace.

On the second day of a three-day swing through the region, the pope arrived in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christianity, before heading to Israel for the final leg of his visit.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Syria, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, Violence

Pope Francis's address to refugees and disabled youth in Jordan

Dear young people, I ask you to join me in praying for peace. You can do this by offering your daily efforts and struggles to God; in this way your prayer will become particularly precious and effective. I also encourage you to assist, through your generosity and sensitivity, in building a society which is respectful of the vulnerable, the sick, children and the elderly. Despite your difficulties in life, you are a sign of hope. You have a place in God’s heart and in my prayers. I am grateful that so many of you are here, and for your warmth and enthusiasm.

As our meeting concludes, I pray once more that reason and restraint will prevail and that, with the help of the international community, Syria will rediscover the path of peace. May God change the hearts of the violent and those who seek war. And may he strengthen the hearts and minds of peacemakers and grant them every blessing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Christology, Jordan, Middle East, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(CNS) At Amman Mass, pope calls on Christians to promote peace

Celebrating Mass on his first day in the Holy Land, Pope Francis said hope for peace in a region torn by sectarian conflicts comes from faith in God.

“The way of peace is strengthened if we realize that we are all of the same stock and members of one human family, if we never forget that we have the same heavenly father and are all his children, made in his image and likeness,” the pope said May 24 in his homily at Amman’s International Stadium.

“Diversity of ideas and persons should not trigger rejection or prove an obstacle, for variety always enriches,” he told the congregation of some 30,000 people. “We ought, therefore, to show concrete signs of humility, fraternity, forgiveness and reconciliation.

“Peace is not something which can be bought,” the pope said. “It is a gift to be sought patiently and to be crafted through the actions, great and small, of our everyday lives.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Israel, Jordan, Judaism, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer, Syria, Violence

The Full Schedule of Pope Francis' May 24-26 Visit to the Holy Land

Read it all and You can watch live TV here if you so desire also. Note that there is a link to the program as well.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Syria

(Wash. Post) Pope picks one of dueling baptism sites in visit to Holy Land

Christians believe that Jesus was immersed in the waters of the Jordan River by John the Baptist, who wore a cloak of camel’s hair and lived on locusts and honey in the desert wilderness.

But the Gospels are not precise about which side of the river the baptism took place on ”” the east bank or the west.

Although it might not matter much to a half-million annual visitors who come to the river for sightseeing or a renewal of faith, it matters very much to tourism officials in Israel and Jordan, who maintain dueling baptism sites, one smack-dab across from the other, with the shallow, narrow, muddy stream serving as international boundary.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Israel, Jordan, Judaism, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(RNS) Pope Francis, Jordan king say dialogue is ”˜only option’ in Syria conflict

The Catholic Church has been following with concern the radicalization of Syria’s civil war. The country hosts a sizable Christian minority, which has mostly sided with Assad during the two-year long conflict.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop Maroun Lahham, the vicar for Jordan of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said he hoped the “world’s ”˜bigs’” would “make peace instead of war and find a peaceful solution.”

Other Syrian Catholic leaders have been even more vocal in condemning a possible Western intervention.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Jordan, Middle East, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Violence

Group Releases Statement on Middle East to TEC Executive Council

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Executive Council, Foreign Relations, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Middle East, Politics in General, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, Theology

Tariq Ramadan–Whatever happened to the 'Arab spring'?

The people must be alert, analytically and democratically. Populist movements are gaining strength, forcing emotional, hasty, binary and often blind reactions. Political and religious leaders, intellectuals and students, women (in the heart of their legitimate struggles) as well as ordinary citizens bear a heavy responsibility. They must become the masters of their fate. If democratisation is to mean anything at all, it must be in terms of freedom and responsibility. Time has come to stop blaming the West, the neighbouring countries and the “powers” for the crises they continue to suffer.

The Great Powers undoubtedly played a role in the uprisings – they continue to wield great influence and have not stopped promoting their interests, dictatorships or not, democracy or not. Engaged as they are in a painful transition, the MENA countries must now face their destiny. However, beyond the strategic planning of the Great Powers – both the western countries and the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) – these countries have a historic opportunity to take their destinies in their hands; to create a new regional balance of power, new ways of handling the religious reference. They can profit from the emerging multi-polar economic order to celebrate cultural and artistic creativity, and take seriously the welfare and the superior interests of their peoples.

Where to begin? With a true process of liberation, an intellectual and psychological revolution that must first overcome the obsession with western approval, as if, once liberated, these countries must still seek legitimacy and tolerance.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, History, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria

([London] Times) Abdulateef al-Mulhim–Forget Israel. Arabs are their own worst enemy

I was recently struck by some photos and reports I saw on the al-Arabiya network, the most respected news outlet in the Middle East. There was a starving child in Yemen, a burnt-out ancient souk in Aleppo, Syria, car bombs in Iraq and destroyed buildings in Libya.

What links all these images is that the destruction and the atrocities were not perpetrated by an outside enemy. The starvation, the killings and the destruction in these Arab countries were carried out by the same hands that are supposed to protect and build the unity of these countries and safeguard their people. Who, therefore, is the real enemy of the Arab world?

Many Arabs would say it is Israel ”” their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they have never recognised. From 1948 to today there have been three full-scale wars and many confrontations. But what was the real cost of these wars to the Arab world and its people? The harder question that no Arab wants to ask is: what was the real cost of not recognising Israel in 1948 and why didn’t the Arab states spend their assets on education, healthcare and infrastructure instead of wars? But the very hardest question of all is whether Israel is the real enemy of the Arab world and the Arab people.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Egypt, History, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Middle East, Politics in General, Poverty, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Violence

(Der Spiegel) Syrian War Threatens to Spread to Neighbors

Events in recent days have illustrated just how quickly the violence in Syria could spiral into a regional war. After Syrian mortar bombs once again fell on Turkish soil, this time killing five civilians, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan felt compelled to act. The Turkish military’s retaliation on Wednesday and Thursday startled the international community.

With its actions, Turkey obviously proceeded with caution: It answered the repeated attacks from Syria with a few artillery shots — not missiles. And the permission for further military action granted to Erdogan by his parliament is intended primarily as an intimidation measure. There is no apparent intent to declare all-out war — at least for the time being. The United Nations Security Council, meanwhile, has strongly condemned the Syrian attack on Turkish soil and called on both sides to show restraint.
The fact of the matter is that the longer Syrian civil war continues, the more often incidents like that seen earlier this week will occur — particularly in Turkey and Lebanon. A large part of the border region around Syria has already become a war zone. Previously, the international community had worried that a military intervention could fuel a regional wildfire, but now it is being forced to look on as this increasingly appears to be the reality — without it ever even having gotten involved.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, Foreign Relations, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence

The Economist Leader–Islam and the Arab revolutions

Islam is bound to play a larger role in government in the Arab world than elsewhere. Most Muslims do not believe in the separation of religion and state, as America and France do, and have not lost their enthusiasm for religion, as many “Christian Democrats” in Europe have. Muslim democracies such as Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia all have big Islamic parties.

But Islamic does not mean Islamist. Al-Qaeda in the past few years has lost ground in Arab hearts and minds. The jihadists are a small minority, widely hated by their milder co-religionists, not least for giving Islam a bad name across the world. Ideological battles between moderates and extremists within Islam are just as fierce as the animosity pitting Muslim, Christian and Jewish fundamentalists against each other. Younger Arabs, largely responsible for the upheavals, are better connected and attuned to the rest of the modern world than their conservative predecessors were.

Moreover, some Muslim countries are on the road to democracy, or already there.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Asia, Bahrain, Egypt, Islam, Jordan, Libya, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia

(BBC) Jordan battles to regain 'priceless' Christian relics

They could be the earliest Christian writing in existence, surviving almost 2,000 years in a Jordanian cave. They could, just possibly, change our understanding of how Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and how Christianity was born.

A group of 70 or so “books”, each with between five and 15 lead leaves bound by lead rings, was apparently discovered in a remote arid valley in northern Jordan somewhere between 2005 and 2007.

A flash flood had exposed two niches inside the cave, one of them marked with a menorah or candlestick, the ancient Jewish religious symbol.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Jordan, Judaism, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture