Jordan Orders Imams to Preach 'Peaceful Islam'

In another move to crack down on ISIS supporters in the country, Jordanian authorities have ordered clerics to preach only moderate Islam.

Cynthia Blank ,

Jordanian ISIS terrorist vows attack
Jordanian ISIS terrorist vows attack
Screenshot

In an effort to counter the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and its effect on her borders, Jordan has imposed new rules on Muslim clerics. 

In a mandatory meeting held at an auditorium in Zarqa and attended by hundreds of Muslim clerics, Jordan's Minister of Islamic Affairs, Hayel Dawood, ordered imams to preach moderate Islam - or else. 

“You clerics are our ground forces against the extremists,” Hayel Dawood told them. “Once you cross the red line,” he added, “you will not be let back in.”

For months, Jordan has been fortifying its border against the rapidly advancing ISIS - who now controls large portions of Iraq and Syria - for fear that the terrorist organization would soon set its sights on the nearby Hashemite Kingdom.  

Fear of the radical Islamist organization do not seem unfounded as ISIS terrorists have publicly called for King Abdullah's execution, declaring him a traitor to Islam who has joined forces with the West. 

In response, Jordan has put its air force and intelligence service to work with the United States led alliance against Islamic State.

To counter support for the terrorist group within Jordan itself, the kingdom is prosecuting ISIS recruiters as well as cracking down on anyone waving an ISIS banner. 

Now, it also has turned its attention to religion - and the country's 7,000 mosques. 

Although Jordanian security offices have always carefully watched radicals for years, they never stopped allowing even prominent al-Qaeda-affiliated clerics from preaching - as long as they watched what they said. 

Now, with the sudden rise of Islamic State, Jordan's religious authorities are clamping down. 

They have authorities have started a campaign coaxing and even pressuring Muslim clerics to preach messages of moderate or peaceful Islam. 

Jordan's imams, of which there are more than 5,000, traditionally give sermons after Friday prayers. And Dawood is touring the kingdom unveiling the set of new laws in a series of meetings for any religious leader who wishes to address Friday worshippers. 

Jordan is specifically demanding that preachers refrain from any speech against King Abdullah II and the royal family, slander against leaders of neighboring Arab states, incitement against the United States and Europe, and support for jihad and extremist thought.

For those who deviate, the result could be banishment from the pulpit for life - or worse. Offenders who openly praise ISIS could be brought to court to face charges under the country's enhanced anti-terrorism law. 

While Jordan’s moderate approach to Islam has been applauded in the past by US officials for emphasizing positive messages of charity, respect and tolerance, some Jordanian clerics are taking umbrage at being told what to preach. 

They’ve left no space for us in the mosques,” Mohammed al-Shalabi, an elder leader of the ultraconservative Jihadi Salafis in Jordan, said to The Washington Post. “They’re not even allowing anyone to use the words ‘Islamic State.’"

But Jordanian authorities maintained their stance on the matter: "We have preachers using the pulpit for political means, to launch attacks on private individuals and the state,” Dawood said, stressing that, “This will not be tolerated.”



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