The King of Jordan’s Slander about Israel’s Treatment of Christians

Sept. 23 2022

At the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, King Abdullah of Jordan spoke of his monarchy’s historic role as the custodian of the Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem. He then went on to say that the “rights of churches in Jerusalem are threatened,” and that Jerusalem’s Christians are “under fire.” Shortly after the speech, he had a reportedly friendly meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid. The editors of the Jerusalem Post respond:

Christianity is retreating through the Middle East, with ancient Christian communities in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Gaza, and yes, Bethlehem, shrinking. Three years ago, the British foreign secretary commissioned a report that concluded that the pervasive persecution of Christians, sometimes amounting to genocide, is taking place in the Mideast, triggering a massive Christian exodus from the region. There is only one state in the region where the Christian community is actually growing: Israel. Yet that is precisely the state that Abdullah chose to target as the place where Christianity is under fire.

This represents unparalleled chutzpah, for two main reasons. First, because the king knows that it is not true, and that Israel zealously protects the rights of the churches in Jerusalem, as well as the freedom of worship for Christians throughout the city. He is also certainly aware that while the Christian community in his own country is shrinking, across the River Jordan in Israel it is growing.

Secondly, Abdullah’s presenting himself as some kind of guardian of religious liberty is misleading, considering that Jordanian officials at the border with Israel regularly prevent Jews crossing into Jordan from bringing in with them religious objects they need for daily ritual practice, such as tallitot and t’fillin.

At a time when tensions are running high in Jerusalem on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, responsible leaders of goodwill—among whose ranks Abdullah wants to be counted—should seek to lower the temperature, not artificially raise it. . . . Improving the atmosphere between Jerusalem and Amman is a Jordanian interest as much as it is an Israeli one.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Israeli Christians, Jerusalem, Jordan, Middle East Christianity

How the Death of Mahsa Amini Changed Iran—and Its Western Apologists

Sept. 28 2022

On September 16, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death in custody three days later, evidently after being severely beaten, sparked waves of intense protests throughout the country. Since then, the Iranian authorities have killed dozens more in trying to quell the unrest. Nervana Mahmoud comments on how Amini’s death has been felt inside and outside of the Islamic Republic:

[I]n Western countries, the glamorizing of the hijab has been going on for decades. Even Playboy magazine published an article about the first “hijabi” news anchor in American TV history. Meanwhile, questioning the hijab’s authenticity and enforcement has been framed as “Islamophobia.” . . . But the death of Mahsa Amini has changed everything.

Commentators who downplayed the impact of enforced hijab have changed their tune. [Last week], CNN’s Christiane Amanpour declined an interview with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s notorious morality police and senior officials for the violence carried out against protesters and for the death of Mahsa Amini.

The visual impact of the scenes in Iran has extended to the Arab world too. Arabic media outlets have felt the winds of change. The death of Mahsa Amini and the resulting protests in Iran are now top headlines, with Arab audiences watching daily as Iranian women from all age groups remove their hijabs and challenge the regime policy.

Iranian women are making history. They are teaching the world—including the Muslim world—about the glaring difference between opting to wear the hijab and being forced to wear it, whether by law or due to social pressure and mental bullying. Finally, non-hijabi women are not afraid to defy, proudly, their Islamist oppressors.

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Read more at Nervana

More about: Arab World, Iran, Women in Islam