The childhood of Christians in Jordan, marked by segregation

The childhood of Christians in Jordan, marked by segregation

For the Christian children of Jordan, growing up in this country which proclaims Islam as the official religion of the State implies a fight against segregation: from an education practically relegated to the private sector to the impossibility of adopting marks a space of discrimination , an issue that many Christian voices seek to denounce.

“The absence of Christian religious education in Jordanian public schools and its relegation to private schools is one of the reasons why Jordanian students choose this option,” Jordanian parliamentarian Omar al Naber told EFE.

It was this deputy who presented a request to the Ministry of Education for there to be teaching of the Christian religion in public schools, but this request was rejected because “of the small number of Christian pupils “.

Despite the fact that there are no official data, it is estimated according to various sources that out of the Jordanian population of 10.9 million, Muslims, practically all Sunnis, constitute 97.1% of the population, while that Christians represent 2.1%.


The issue of teaching the Christian religion in public schools continues to be one of the issues that religious and human rights voices have called for resolution in recent years.

Among the options is a religious education course, which focuses on explaining other beliefs that are important to a diverse society and are also protected by the Jordanian Constitution.

The researcher of the Royal Institute of Religious Studies, Rami Abu Naffaa, explained to EFE that the reasons why there is no teaching of the Christian religion in Jordan is the absence of a curriculum unified and the low percentage of students of this faith in Jordan. public schools, as well as the lack of teachers to teach.

A former adviser to the Ministry of Education, Thouqan Obeidat, told EFE that “Jordanian society must open up to the culture of other religions, because the Christian community is an essential part of Jordanian society as a whole, therefore the teaching of the Christian religion is considered a necessity and not an option”.

According to a US State Department report last year on religious freedom in Jordan, knowledge of the Quran is required by law for Muslim students in public and private schools, but optional for non-Muslims.

However, all students must pass an Arabic language exam in the final year of secondary school which includes proficiency in certain verses of the Quran, and Islamic themes appear in sample lessons in other subject curricula.


Another of the issues where most obstacles exist for Christian families is the adoption of Christian children, said Nisren Hawatmeh, the founder of the NGO Sanadak, which is dedicated to providing services to orphans and child victims. of domestic violence at EFE in Jordan.

“The biggest challenge for Christians in adoption and fostering is the absence of Christian children and Jordanian law does not allow adoption even though it is a church right for children. Christians,” he said.

Hawatmeh justified this “absence” by article n°19 of the Civil Code which stipulates that “the religion of the State (Islam) is considered as the religion of the newborn”, in case someone does not would not come forward to prove the lineage of the newborn, which is usually very difficult for children abandoned in orphanages.

“Christians in Jordan don’t want to foster, they want to adopt,” Hawatmeh said, noting that three years ago there was an attempt to introduce Christian adoption into the Children’s Act, but that the amendment had been rejected.

For his part, Yaqoub al Far, a family lawyer, indicated that the state is “ineffective” on this issue, which is based on the Jordanian Constitution, which is governed by Islam and therefore prohibits adoption: “It is a violation of freedom of worship, belief and adoption,” he said.

For this reason, the only authorized system is that of “kafala” (reception), which allows the exercise of parental authority, but does not integrate the minor into the family and prevents, for example, the child from to obtain surnames and to be able to receive an inheritance.

Hawatmeh said that in 2020, the first Christian family that applied to foster a child was registered, but so far they are waiting their turn to find a Christian child.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.For tips or news submission: