Tolerant, liberal Jordan is not so tolerant and liberal when it comes to those who convert from Islam to Christianity. This is yet more evidence of the fact that non-Muslims do not enjoy full and equal rights with Muslims in any Muslim country in the world today. “Apostasy rules,” from World Magazine, with thanks to JS and Natasha Tynes:
In Jordan’s King Abdullah, Washington saw the kinder, gentler face of the Arab world.
Arriving last month to accept an honorary doctorate from Georgetown University, the 43-year-old monarch told American reporters he supports democracy movements spreading from Iraq to Lebanon.
His visit to Washington came just as Arab leaders gathered in Algiers without him. The king skipped a regional summit of the Arab League, even though the most talked-about item on the agenda was a Jordanian peace proposal that for the first time dropped Arab demands that Israel cede all lands it acquired in the 1967 war. Rather than tussle with contentious Arab comrades, he met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and gave interviews with American reporters. His message: “Islam honors every human being, without distinction of color, race, or religion.” Terrorists who struck the United States and elsewhere, he said, “have nothing to do with Islam.”
But even as the king projects a more tolerant Islamic face, his record at home does not yet reflect the progressive image.
Ask Samer and Abeer. Last September Jordanian security police connected to the country’s Mukhabarat, or intelligence agency, showed up at the couple’s home unannounced. They arrested Samer and detained him overnight. Samer’s crime: coming to faith in Jesus Christ 14 years ago. Originally a Muslim, Samer over the years since his conversion has been questioned several times by security police but never detained. This time, the police turned him over to the Islamic courts.
Jordan is a constitutional monarchy in name only, with an elected parliament whose decisions are subject to royal fiat and a judicial system that continues to impose strict penalties under Islamic, or Shariah, law. Apostasy, or religious conversion, is rarely punished but remains illegal. Church leaders in Amman say they know of two Muslim-background Christians now in prison because they became Christians, both non-Jordanians and one in solitary confinement.
At his October hearing, Samer was asked to “alter his confession,” or recant his Christian faith. He refused. Officials set another court date. In the meantime, Samer made precautionary arrangements for Abeer, his wife, and their 18-month-old son to leave Jordan. (Samer’s wife once spent six years in prison for an out-of-wedlock pregnancy before she was taken in by a Christian family and came to faith in Jesus Christ.) At a November hearing before the Islamic court, an exasperated judge told Samer, “We don’t know what to do with you.” He implored him, saying, “You cannot be a Christian, you must come back to Islam.” Samer again refused.
Read it all.