JORDAN – On Saturday, April 10, 2021, the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies (RIIFS) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation presented the results of a study conducted on “The Freedom of Worship in Jordan during COVD-19 Pandemic”, as well as the relevant recommendations and their effects on religious freedom.
The study examined the impact of Covid-19 on the freedom of worship and the changes that have taken place due to lockdowns in Jordan. It indicated that the closure of places of worship aimed at preserving the health and safety of citizens, and that the Jordanian government had the right to use all means to protect the public good and the health of citizens in a way that did not contradict with the constitution, despite the fact that some difficulties stand in the way.
The study confirmed that the majority of citizens were affected by the decision to close places of worship at the spiritual, psychological, social and economic levels, which prompted several religious associations to help mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic. It also showed that clergymen played a positive role during lockdowns by launching funds, as well as raising public awareness through the homilies and prayers which were designed to urge people to free themselves from fear and tension during the difficult times imposed by the pandemic.
Furthermore, the study confirmed that the lockdown did not impact the practice of religious rites, but rather contributed to increasing them, and indicated that the pandemic gave rise to solidarity in the Jordanian society as several individual initiatives emerged that demonstrated the ability of Jordanians to do volunteering work in the service of the society.
The study called for giving greater attention to mental health, as well as for increasing coordination among the government bodies, the decision-makers, the civil society organizations, the clergymen, journalists and experts from various disciplines, in order to share information about the pandemic and to enhance efforts to confront it. It also recommended promoting cooperation with the World Health Organization, increasing cooperation to develop religious discourse, spreading concepts of plurality and accepting the others, as well as raising awareness of the importance of common living.
During the event, Dr. Renee Hatter, Head of the Department of International Studies at the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, presented the study, while the meeting was moderated by Professor Amer Al Hafi, the Royal Institute’s Academic Advisor. In attendance were Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Bishop William Shomali, Head of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation office in Jordan Dirk Kunze, Sheikh Dr. Rabi’ Al-Abidi, Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader, Dr. Nadia Sweiss, Dr. Issam Mansour, Dr. Arwa Musallam, Professor Laith Nasrawin, Dr. Jamal Shalabi, Rakan Fakhouri, and Ms. Lynn Khayat.
Source:Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem