(Image used for illustrative purpose only)
In primary school, Khalil was one of six Christians amongst 1,200 Muslim children. “The faith of my family was questioned everywhere I went,” he recalls. “The Arabic classes would be about the Quran, the Sunnis, and Mohammed. But also science class would start with a Quran reading.” After being told by his teacher that he was going to hell, Khalil converted to Islam when he was just 11.
Many Christian parents, like Khalil’s, cannot afford to send their children to Christian schools – instead they are forced to send them to public schools where children are provided with de facto Islamic education. But even at home, television channels constantly broadcast Islamic programmes, and on Fridays the imams in mosques regularly preach that all Jews and Christians will go to hell, and these sermons are played on loudspeakers in the streets.
In a country that is predominantly Muslim, there is incipient opposition from family, community and radical Islamic groups to Muslims who become Christians. The state maintains a permissive attitude towards the threats and violence that arise out of such conversions.
Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar was brutally killed on Sept 25th, 2016. Hattar was on trial for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam, and was shot dead outside a court in Amman. The suspected killer is reportedly a fundamentalist Muslim.
Despite the situation worsening in recent years, the number of Jordan believers from a Muslim background has been growing (Jodan ranks number 21 in the World Watch List). Khalil eventually came back to Christ after receiving a vision of Jesus when talking to a Christian friend. Now, he runs a Christian ministry to encourage young people to read the Bible.
Dear heavenly Father, we bring before You the people of Jordan who have believed the lies told to them. We pray that they will know the truth, and that the truth will set them free, so that parents and children alike will know and serve You. We pray for an increase in the freedom to worship our Lord Jesus Christ in Jordan, just like how it was in the first century. May You grant wisdom to Your servants in the land to minister to Your sheep. Stop the violent deeds of the extremists, and soften their hearts, for they believe that they are serving You by killing man. Grant Your people courage in the midst of fear and violence, that they can glorify You. Show Yourself to those who do not yet know You, and cause their hearts to repent and turn to Christ. In our Lord Jesus Christ’s name we pray, amen.
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