Jordan

Jordan has long been one of the Middle East's more liberal countries for religious freedom, but the tide is turning for Christians.

Jordan

World Watch List Rank World Watch List Score
27 63/100
Leader Population
King Abdullah II 7,877,000 (169,000 Christians)
Main Religion Government
Islam Constitutional monarchy
Source of Persecution Persecution Level
Islamic extremism/Tribal antagonism High Persecution

Expat Christians and historical Christian communities are relatively free - as long as they do not evangelise Muslims. But believers from Muslim backgrounds face serious oppression from local authorities, non-Christian religious leaders, even their own families. The large number of Muslim refugees from Syria and Iraq, combined with the rise of radical Islam, is also putting increasing pressure on Christians.

PERSECUTION IN JORDAN

"This is not the Jordan we know," said a Jordanian church leader after the deportation of an American pastor in November 2014. Jody Miller, pastor of Grace Church in Amman, was called in to Jordan's General Intelligence Department for an interview with security officials. However, according to his account, no interview took place. After waiting for several hours, officials handcuffed and blindfolded him, and took him to a jail cell. Two days later he was deported at his own expense.

Miller believes that the government will continue to arrest and deport members of Grace Church until it shuts down; the church reaches out to Muslim refugees and about a quarter of the congregation attending their Sunday services is Muslim. However, a Jordanian church leader, speaking to World Watch Monitor, believes that the deportation was a clumsy attempt to protect Miller. "Their desire is to protect him, but they could have done it in a much better fashion," he said. "They could say, 'Your life is in danger, please leave,' not just arrest him and treat him like a criminal. This is not the Jordan we know."

Historical Christian communities enjoy a relatively high level of religious freedom although individuals within them may experience discrimination, e.g. in the area of unemployment. But non-traditional Protestant Christian communities and expatriate Christians who are active in proselytising Muslims face opposition from government officials. In a country that is predominantly Muslim, there is incipient opposition from family, community and radical Islamic groups to Muslims who become Christians.

The state does not play an active role in this but maintains a permissive attitude towards the threats and violence that arise out of such conversions. Nevertheless, the number of Muslim-background believers has been growing, despite the situation worsening in recent years.

HOW WE HELP

In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors is supporting the church in Jordan through:

  • Training programmes
  • Relief and rehabilitation projects
  • Research.

PRAYER POINTS FOR JORDAN

  • For protection and healing for Christian converts interrogated by police and abused or abducted by family members
  • That the refugee crisis would provide an opportunity for churches to share God's love
  • For Muslims to be touched by the love of their Christian neighbours and drawn to Christ.
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