Siham Qandah and her children
Compass Direct reports on the face of tolerant Islam in enlightened, moderate Jordan: Siham Qandah, a Jordanian Christian woman, is fighting for the custody of her two children against her estranged brother, a convert to Islam who has won a court ruling giving him permission to take the children and raise them as Muslims.
Even the Jordanian royal family has gotten involved, although it doesn’t seem to have the power or inclination to overturn the court’s decision. “Everyone is giving me promises,” says Qandah, “but no one is really doing anything. I am only counting on God and all the prayers of His people.”
Last September, “Qandah was handed another court ultimatum to turn over her children to their Muslim guardian or face arrest within three days. However, the Irbid civil court order ignored a previous restraining order issued by a higher court in Amman stipulating that Qandah cannot not be arrested or forced to surrender her children until a case pending to disqualify the children’s Muslim guardian is resolved. At present, Qandah remains under the protection of this temporary injunction.
“Widowed nine years ago, Qandah has a daughter Rawan now 15, and her son Fadi turned 14 last month. Both children are baptized Christians, but the alleged conversion of their father to Islam three years before he died has forcibly changed their legal identity from Christian to Muslim.
“In moderate Jordan, this would rarely pose a custody problem for their Christian mother. But Qandah asked her estranged brother, who had converted to Islam as a teenager, to help her meet Jordan’s legal requirements by becoming her children’s court-appointed Muslim guardian.
“The brother began to appropriate some of their orphan benefits. Then, displeased to learn that his sister continued to raise them as Christians, he filed a court suit, demanding custody of the children so he could raise them as Muslims. After a four-year legal wrangle, the Supreme Court of Jordan ruled in his favor, turning down the mother’s last legal appeal on February 28, 2002.”