At a time when Christians in the Middle At East are in a desperate position and it often seems that there is no one willing to defend them, Jordan’s King Abdullah has been a vocal defender of the rights of Christians. At a conference he stressed that “Arab Christians have played a key role in building Arab societies” and that the protection of their rights was “a duty rather than a favour’. Jordan has given refuge to thousands of Iraqi Christians who fled from Islamic State. These Christians are extremely grateful for the lifeline that Jordan gave them. They are, however, facing severe financial hardship and many of them have only managed to survive thanks to the help they have been given by churches and Christian communities in Jordan. Jordan’s Christian population has gradually decreased, many Christians have moved abroad. The Christian population has roughly halved since 1970 when it stood at around 5%.
Despite being tolerant of christians, Jordan a Muslim-majority country with elements of sharia in its legal system. In there are issues in matters of family law when one of the spouses has converted to Christianity, especially concerning inheritance or access to children if they divorce. Converts from Islam to Christianity can also face pressures and legal difficulties, because the legal system still regards them as Muslim. Jordan remains vulnerable to radical Islamists within its borders as well as the threat of Islamic State in neighbouring Iraq.
Give thanks for King Abdullah’s positive attitude towards the Christian minority in Jordan and his desire to protect their religious freedoms. Praise God for the care and love that Jordanian Christians have shown towards the Christian refugees living amongst them. Pray that the tiny Christian community will shine as a bright light to their Muslim neighbours. Pray also that Jordanian legislation will be applied fairly to Christians, so that they will not be disadvantaged by sharia law.