This year, Jordan ranks 26th on the World Watch List (WWL), versus 34th last year. It is the highest position Jordan has had in the history of the WWL. The rise is explained mainly by a further deterioration in the situation of religious freedom, especially for Muslim Background Believers (MBBs).
The main persecution engine in Jordan is Islamic extremism. Tribal antagonism also plays a role, as Christians are surrounded by the continuing influence of age-old norms and values that have been shaped in a tribal context. Tribal antagonism can come in the form of traditional religion, and in the case of Jordan, this is clearly mixed with Islam. Drivers of these persecution engines are government officials, ethnic group leaders, non-Christian religious leaders, fanatical movements, ordinary people and (extended) family.
Tensions between moderate and Islamic extremist in Jordanian society are on the rise, under influence of the Arab Uprisings. The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, emboldened by their increased influence in the region, have hijacked the demands for more reforms to serve their agenda: to transform Jordan into an Islamic state. Jordan has been spared from major terrorist attacks, the latest dating back to 2005. However, there have been attempts to attack Western diplomats and shopping centers in the city of Amman in the recent past. Jihadists from abroad, who are heading for Syria, are crossing Jordan. Also, hundreds of Jordanian jihadists are reportedly fighting against Assad in Syria, together with other Islamic extremists from all parts of the world.
*Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes