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Muslim youth armed up to guard churches ahead of Easter celebration

Muslim youth armed up to guard churches ahead of Easter celebration

“Muslim residents will stand as guards in front of churches to ensure the safety of Christians inside” 

AMMAN – Muslim Jordanian youth launch an initiative to protect churches all over the Kingdom on Easter Sunday.

The initiative came up following attacks on two churches in Egypt last week.

Attacks on two Coptic churches in Egypt’s Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday killed around 44 and injured more than 100 worshippers, many of whom were children.

“On Sunday, our Christian brothers and sisters will be in churches [performing] religious [rituals], [and] extremists [are] threatening our national security… My Muslim friends and I will be in Balqa Governorate, protecting its churches and people,” said Kazem Kharabsheh.

Daesh have been repeatedly issuing statements of threats against the Kingdom’s security.

Another Balqa resident, Fayez Ruqeidi, added the vigilante act is meant to “underline the unity of Jordanians and to give everyone the freedom to practise their religion without restraints or fear”.

In Madaba, Hazem Al Fouqaha said many “Muslim residents will stand as guards in front of churches to ensure the safety of Christians inside” 

Saleh Abu Mahfoud from Zarqa Governorate, some 19km east of Amman, announced his willingness to protect churches in the area, along with other activists to show solidarity with Christians celebrating Easter.

Activists in Ajloun voiced a similar stand to “show the world the harmony and conviviality in Jordan” and to present a model of a fight against extremism, xenophobia, and radicalism.

“We are always proud to say Jordan is made up of harmonious pieces of mosaics; it’s truly sad to see such security measures taken out of necessity in Jordan. We live in a small country and we know everyone here,” Amman resident Hala Saadi told The Jordan Times.

Several security checkpoints were installed on the gates of some churches around the country, as a way to ensure protection of worshippers.

Father Rifat Bader from the Amman-based Catholic Centre for Studies and Media said installing checkpoints at church gates is only a normal measure to help the security personnel, who are “always present on every religious occasion”