The Christians of Jordan: The percentage dropped, but the existence has not

The Christians of Jordan: The percentage dropped, but the existence has not

By Fr. Rifat Bader

The article or rather the study published by Dr. Ma'rouf Bakhit (Al Rai daily, July 3, 2017) titled, "Stations in the Development of the Jordanian National Character" deserves to be viewed thoroughly. It is written by an intellectual who loves Jordan’s leadership, people, army, soil, water and space. As for the issue tackled by the study, it is worthy to be viewed with pride. The Jordanian personalities are open-minded, constructive and supportive of unity since the Jordanians are “supportive of unity and they preserve privacy”. As for their opposition, it is rather “national, responsible and it involves partnership”, according to the article of Dr. Bakhit.

What drew my attention in this article, in particular, is the sublime plurality which characterizes the Jordanian people. The Christians and Muslims are brothers and partners. Dr. Bakhit has been fair in his reference to Christians for he is a friend of theirs. He deals with them, listens to them, and gives them his advice in official and private fields of work.

The writer enumerates some national Christian figures and briefly summarizes the achievements of each of them such as Odeh Qsous, Ya’coub Al-Odat, Rux Bin Za’id Al-‘Uzaizi, Suleiman Al-Mousa, and others. I would have liked to have religious figures, who influenced society with their grand contributions, mentioned. Mr. Bakhit knows well that the Christians--in their capacity as good, influential, and productive citizens of the community-- are not confined to individual success stories, but also to the success of their spiritual and religious institutions, which provide daily services to all citizens without discrimination.

Mr. Bakhit, the writer and lecturer who studied history, realizes that the "percentage" of Christians has shrunk from what it had been in the 19th century. But he says that the drop in their "percentage" will never diminish their existence. Here lies the difference between mere geographic "existence" and an increase in the number of people on the one hand and an effective, active and persistent "presence" in all fields and shades of society on the other.

Furthermore, after enumerating the schools that were created in conjunction with the establishment of the Jordanian Emirate, the writer mentions the obvious contribution of Christians, especially in the schools established by the Churches in our country. These schools date back to the second half of the 19th century, where they contributed effectively and historically to reducing the knowledge gap and eliminating or rather eradicating illiteracy.

Our good wishes go to the people who are loyal to their country and who are able to express the points of strength and unity in our country, away from viewing negative aspects, from making instructive addresses over the snapchat, live videos, and social networking sites and sometimes by making inappropriate and unacceptable ethical addresses.

It is better to take note of the importance of academic studies, such as Dr. Bakhit's paper on the development of the Jordanian national character, for it is more worthy to be adopted by university and school students. They should be encouraged to follow the same example because the homeland deserves that and because the homeland contains historic treasures since the new generations deserve to have written cultural heritage that consolidates our present status and paves the way for a better future leading to further progress and civilization.”

Thank you Dr. Ma’rouf Bakhit.

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