Moderate Jordan Offers Oasis for Christians

As conditions for Chaldean Catholics in Iraq deteriorate and political unrest threatens Christians in Lebanon, the Kingdom of Jordan remains a small oasis of relative calm for the Middle East’s Christian minority. Bishop Selim Sayegh, the Latin patriarchal vicar for Jordan, told America that Christians in Jordan remain confident of their acceptance by the larger Muslim society as King Abdullah II remains a guarantor of their security. The Christian community is a disproportionate force in Jordan’s parliament, and the Hashemite kingdom continues to draw both Christian and Muslim refugees from Iraq. The bishop said the encounter with Islam is completely different in Jordan from what many Americans might expect. “The government is moderate and trying always to give a good balance,” he said. Christians and Muslims in Jordan practice the “dialogue of daily life” lived together.

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