ASIA/JORDAN - King Abdallah II reaffirms royal responsibility for protecting Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem

Tuesday, 26 April 2022 middle east   oriental churches   jerusalem   holy places   ramadan   geopolitics

Amman (Agenzia Fides) - The Hashemite dynasty of Jordan will continue to exercise its historical responsibility for the protection and protection of the Christian and Islamic Holy Places of Jerusalem with even more vigor and determination, so that Christians and Muslims can continue to freely practice their rites and liturgies in these places , without being intimidated and hindered by unilateral and “fait accompli” measures that violate the rules and undermine the coexistence of faith communities in the Holy City.
King Abdallah II himself reaffirmed the historic responsibility for the protection exercised by the Jordanian royal family for the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. He did so on Monday evening, April 25, during the official fast-breaking at the Al-Husseiniya Royal Palace in Amman, attended by senior officials from Jerusalem's Christian and Islamic communities on one of the final days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The banquet was attended by, among others, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilus III, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and the Jordanian Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II.
In recent weeks, tensions and clashes around the Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem's Old City have escalated again. Clashes broke out between Palestinian Muslims and Israeli police forces on the esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem last week, while the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem deplored restrictions imposed by Israel on the number of worshipers in and around the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on April 23 , Holy Saturday, the day on which the traditional ceremony of the Holy Fire takes place at the beginning of the Easter Vigil, and April 24th, the Orthodox Easter Sunday for the Churches that follow the Julian calendar.
As reported by Jordanian media, King Abdallah is said to have confirmed during dinner on Monday evening that Jordan is coordinating with other Arab political leaders to take action against any violations that endanger the coexistence of the different faith communities in the Holy City. This delicate balance became all the more apparent this year as the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the Christian Easter and Jewish Passover coincided. According to the Jordanian media, during the official breaking of the fast, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, declared that the connection between the king and the royal family and Jerusalem is internationally recognized and appreciated. He is said to have emphasized that the king's voice is an important point of reference in view of the periodically flaring up tensions around the holy places of Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, on Monday, April 25, the Jordanian House of Representatives voted to increase penalties for crimes against religious beliefs or sentiments. The minimum penalty for these offenses is now four months in prison (previously three months) and a maximum fine of 500 Jordanian dinars (previously a maximum of 20 dinars). (GV) Agenzia Fides, 26/4/2022)