September 26 2022 5:17 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Local community condemns attack on Madaba church

Son ‘mentally ill’, refused treatment say perpetrator’s parents

shutterstock_1352418971
A general view of the St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Madaba, 30km southwest of Amman. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Last week, workers at St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Madaba were verbally assaulted by a man who then vandalized the house of worship before he was stopped by a guard, according to eyewitnesses.اضافة اعلان

Locals condemned the assault at the church, which is just 30km southwest of Amman.

Jordan News spoke to the church’s priest, Father Feras Nasrawin, who recounted his experience of the incident.


A mosaic that adorns the top of the entrance to the St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Madaba. (Photo: Flickr)

On June 13, a man arrived at the church’s visitor center and began shouting insults and making blasphemous remarks. He then took a cross off a table, placed it on the ground, and tried to enter the church, but was stopped by a guard, according to Nasrawin.

According to his parents, the man, a Madaba resident, had recently returned from abroad, where he had sought out mental health treatment. However, he returned before completing his treatment and refused treatment in Jordan, the priest said.

The man is currently in police custody, Nasrawin said, adding that the church will be seeking neither financial compensation nor an apology for the incident.


An view of the interior of the St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Madaba. (Photo: Flickr)

“When I see him, I will hug him and invite him for a cup of coffee,” the priest said of the man.

Reactions from the community
Following the incident, the local community reached out to the church to condemn the man’s actions, stressing that such an attack is one against the whole Jordanian community, Nasrawin said.

Madaba MP Mustafa Azaydeh said his community absolutely rejects all acts of religious intimidation and violence.

Islam rejects all assaults on religious places, the lawmaker told Jordan News.

Azaydeh said that, upon learning of the incident, he immediately contacted Madaba’s governor and security agencies, who launched an investigation into the incident.
When I see him, I will hug him and invite him for a cup of coffee.
After the assault, many members of the local community contacted the priest and voiced their condemnation of the act, stressing that it was not only a Christian issue but touches all of the Jordanian community, Father Nasrawin said.

Nasrawin stressed that Jordan is a model of coexistence, and that Jordanian Christians live in harmony free from persecution. He noted that King Abdullah has always been a supporter of Jordanian Christians and that the Amman Message is beacon of tolerance internationally.


Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Bishop Jamal Daibes (second right) visit the St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Madaba in the wake of last week’s attack. (Photo: Abouna)

In response to the incident, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Bishop Jamal Daibes paid a visit to the church, accompanied by a number of Latin Patriarchate priests, and met with priests from fraternal churches, according to the website Abouna, which is operated by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan.

During the visit, Daibes said, “We condemn and denounce any attack on ... houses of worship, including churches and mosques. ... We hope that the relevant security agencies will continue (their) investigations to find out the motives behind this repulsive act.”


A view of the main entrance to the St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Madaba, 30km southwest of Amman. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Hakam Bajali, a Madaba resident and former employee at St George’s Greek Orthodox Church, told Jordan News that attacks like the one last week do not represent the Jordanian community.

“We are proud of the great harmony among the local community with different beliefs since the old times,” he said, adding that incidents like these are rare in Jordan, and minor in comparison to what happens around the world.


A general view of Madaba from the belltower of the St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church. (Photo: Flickr)

The tribes that inhabit Madaba are made up of both Christian and Muslim members that descend from the same forefathers, and that now they live together and share life in peace, Bajali said.

Despite the incident, “this is an opportunity to remind the world how Jordan is a country of peace, tolerance, and moderation,” he concluded.


Read more Features
Jordan News