Jordan invokes duty to protect Mideast Christians

Jordan’s King Abdullah, speaking at a two-day conference on the plight of Middle East Christians, declared that it is a Muslim’s “duty” to protect them.

The two-day conference in Amman on “The Challenges Facing Arab Christians” brought together more than 70 high-ranking representatives of Middle Eastern churches. The conference was organized by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, chief adviser for religious and cultural affairs, who has a long history of interfaith work.

In his speech to the conference, the Jordanian king said protecting the rights of Middle East Christians “is a duty rather than a favor” because “Arab Christians have had a key role in building the Arab society and in the defense of our nation,” the Jordan Times reported.

Prince Ghazi, in his remarks to the conference, noted that “Christians were in this region before Muslims. They are not strangers, nor colonialists, nor foreigners. They are the natives of these lands and Arabs, just as Muslims are.”

The conference also focused on the rapid emigration of Christians from the region. Today, nearly every Christian community in the Middle East, with the exception of Israel’s small Christian community, is shrinking. —