On Saturday, June 5, a meeting was held at the Greek Orthodox Vicariate in Amman to discuss the statement that has been issued by the Amman Municipality which sparked controversy and resentment. The meeting was attended by Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jordan Christoforos Attallah and Amman Mayor Dr. Yousef Shawarbeh in the presence of members of the Council of the Heads of Churches and some members of the Lower House of Parliament.
During the meeting, Archbishop Christoforos and those in attendance expressed profound resentment and bitterness over this statement, which offends the Holy Bible and inflicts damage on the religious sentiments of the entire Jordanian society. He noted that Jordan is the cradle of Christianity, that the first church in the world was built on its soil, and that the Christian sites spread over the soil of this country from north to south which provide cogent evidence of the presence of Christians in this country over the ages and for more than 2,000 years. He stressed that His Majesty the King, the custodian of Islamic and Christian holy sites and the protector of Christian heritage in the Arab Orient, will not accept such an affront because it is incompatible with the Jordanian Hashemite values and the Jordanian constitution.
For his part, Shawarbeh stressed that “the Greater Amman Municipality respects and reveres all divine religions and absolutely rejects any affronts directed to any religion since all citizens in Jordan are equal under the constitution. The statement issued by the municipality is a major mistake that does not represent the municipality, which in turn, offers its profound apology to all Jordanians regarding this statement and its content.”
He stressed that “the Amman message, launched by His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein–may God protect him–to the world carries all references to unity, brotherhood, tolerance, and acceptance of the freedom of religion.” He added that “the Amman Municipality’s administration and cadres never accept abuse of religions, as they glorify the spiritual ideals and religious values that illuminate the paths of mankind.”
He added that Amman Municipality “strives to serve all its residents without discrimination, and safeguards their interests in a way that makes the homeland–cherished by the wise Hashemite leadership– a solid ground and a common space that accommodates all its citizens and residents designed to attain a national and social environment conducive to maximizing the value of the humanity of humans, to upholding citizenship, and to dealing with everyone in a positive and motivating manner. The Amman Municipality regards all the sacred divine texts as red lines that should never be crossed.”
By: Munir Bayouk