Jordan, Middle East
Political Leader: King Abdullah II
Religions: Islam 96.2%, Christianity 2.8%, Other 1%
Persecution Ranking: No. 40
Number of Terrorist Groups: 13
Acts of Terrorism: 86; Casualties: 93
Percent of Corruption: 47%
% of People in Poverty: 30%
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is a country in the Arab World in western Asia, bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the north-east, Israel and the West Bank to the west, and Saudi Arabia to the east and south. It shares with Israel the coastlines of the Dead Sea, and the Gulf of Aqaba with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Jordan is a Middle Eastern country, bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the northeast, Saudi Arabia to the east and south and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Jordan consists mostly of arid desert plateau in the east, with Highland area in the west. The Great Rift Valley of the Jordan River separates Jordan and Israel.
Polls indicate that only half of Jordanians considered Al Qaeda a terrorist organization, but many Jordanians viewed U.S. operations in Iraq as terrorist operations. King Abdullah continued to be an outspoken critic of terrorism and Islamic extremism―condemning as a “criminal cowardly attack” the September 4, 2006 shooting of a British tourist in downtown Amman. Abdullah also continued to promote a tolerant and moderate brand of Islam. The Jordanian government publicly condemned terrorist acts throughout the world, practiced strict security measures and passed new anti-terror legislation. Jordanian security forces disrupted several terrorist plots during 2006.
In February 2006, Jordan’s security forces disrupted an Al Qaeda-linked cell plotting to attack Queen Alia International Airport. In June 2006, the State Security Court indicted seven Iraqi, Libyan, and Saudi suspects involved in the airport plot for conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks. In mid-April 2006, the government announced that it had discovered a cache of weapons, including rockets, explosives and small arms in northern Jordan. The government said that several militants associated with the cache were arrested while planning attacks in Jordan with instructions from Hamas leaders in Syria.
In early November 2006, the State Security Court indicted three of the Hamas-affiliated defendants for plotting attacks in Jordan. Jordanian security forces quickly apprehended Nabil Ahmed Issa al-Jaaourah, a Jordanian citizen, after he shot and killed a British tourist and injured five tourists from the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, and a Jordanian tourist police officer, while shouting “God is great” at Amman’s Roman Amphitheater in early September.
Jordan's lower house of Parliament ratified a bill on the prevention and punishment of terrorism in late August 2006; the bill became law in early November following a royal decree. Highlights of the bill include: authority for the government to freeze the assets of persons suspected of terrorist conspiracy, place them under surveillance, and prevent them from leaving Jordan; a provision that would limit investigative detention to 30 days; and a definition of terrorism.
The government of Jordan moved forward on several high-profile Al Qaeda-related terrorism cases: In February 2006, the State Security Court sentenced nine men to hang for the 2004 plot to carry out a chemical/vehicle-borne explosive attack against the U.S. embassy and government of Jordan targets; On March 11, 2006, Jordanian authorities executed Libyan national Yasser Saad bin Suway for the October 2002 assassination of U.S. officer Lawrence Foley.
Border security remained a top concern. The Jordanian government enforced security measures at each of its ports of entry, including thorough manual and electromagnetic searches of vehicles and persons attempting to enter Jordan through the Karama-Trebil border crossing in the West Bank.
Jordan is comprised of 96.2% Muslims and only 2.8% of the population are Christians. Shari’a is applied in all matters relating to family law involving Muslims or the children of a Muslim father, and all citizens, including non-Muslims, are subject to Islamic legal provisions regarding inheritance. According to the law, all minor children of male citizens who convert to Islam are considered to be Muslim. Adult children of a male Christian who has converted to Islam become ineligible to inherit from their father if they do not also convert to Islam. In cases in which a Muslim converts to Christianity, the authorities do not recognize the conversion as legal, and the individual continues to be treated as a Muslim in matters of family and property law.
Challenges for Christians:
Jordan is ranked No. 40 among nations that are the worst persecutors of Christians based on Open Doors 2007 “World Watch List.” The state religion is Islam. The government prohibits conversion from Islam and proselytization of Muslims. On April 29, 2007, government authorities reportedly deported Pastor Mazhar Izzat Bishay of the Aqaba Free Evangelical Church, an Egyptian national and long-time resident, to Egypt. It was reported that they had previously interrogated him and that they offered him no reason for his deportation. In November 2006 the authorities deported Wajeeh Besharah, Ibrahim Atta, Raja Welson, Imad Waheeb, four Coptic Egyptians living in Aqaba, to Egypt. It was reported that the authorities questioned them about their affiliation with the Free Evangelical Church in Aqaba prior to their deportation.
- Pray for the government of Jordan to be steadfast in combating terrorism and its financing. Pray for Jordan to continue to actively monitor and prosecute terrorist groups.
- Pray that renegade and hostile terrorists groups such as Al Qaeda and Hamas are caught and properly dealt with for their continued violence against innocent people. (Mark 4:22)
- Pray for the salvation of King Abdullah II and his leaders.
- Pray for the peace of Jordan, in the critical role it plays in the Middle East.
- There is a crisis in leadership among many Jordanian churches. Pray that more people would be called and trained for this challenge.
- Most people in Jordan come from a Muslim background, but 35% of the population are interested in finding out more about Jesus. Pray that Christians would be able to find sensitive ways to share the gospel with Muslims.
Source: The World Factbook