This profile was last updated in 2010
Type of Organization: A non-governmental organization registered in Jordan that focuses on grassroots interfaith dialogue and coexistence.
JICRC was established with the aim of using research, dialogue and practical initiatives to promote values of peaceful interfaith coexistence. The Center builds on the shared interfaith and common values system of the Jordanian experience and its 14 centuries of peaceful coexistence to foster understanding and peace.
JICRC was established in 2003, which institutionalized two decades of work leading up to its inception. It was founded by The Very Reverend Father Nabil Haddad, who is currently the CEO and a board member, and a former member of Jordan’s Royal Commission on Human Rights. Father Haddad, who is from the Melkite Catholic Church, stresses the unique role that Arab Christians have to play in the process for peace. According to him, “JICRC is built upon the belief that an approach of togetherness is needed to expand upon the conviction that all values, morals, and religions guide us to peace. JICRC calls for mutual respect and dignity for all people as human beings by emphasizing that we are all children of Adam.”
JICRC provides advice to government and non-government organizations and individual decision makers regarding questions of inter-religious understanding. Scholars as well as visiting students and volunteers conduct research on various religious issues pertaining to peace building and JICRC regularly welcomes delegations from around the world.
The organization is highly respected in the country and across the region and has won the respect of the royalty, academic circles, the judicial system, clergy, and peace building and intercultural understanding activists. In fact, Father Haddad was deputized by His Majesty King Abdullah II to provide the keynote address at a World Affairs Council of America conference entitled “Bridging the Desert,” in February of 2007.
The center has also worked frequently with the U.S. Department of State, including in 2007, when Father Haddad initiated “Islam: Scholarship and Practice in the United States” in partnership with AMIDEAST. This was the first time a priest brought a delegation of imams from the Middle East to the United States. JICRC has been commended by a host of public officials, including Senator John Kerry and former First Lady Laura Bush, for its efforts.
Building on its achievements and momentum made in its 2008 Document for Peaceful Coexistence, described in the section below, JICRC is currently implementing a five year plan of action, to be supported by both Christian and Muslim leaders in the region.
The Amman Message, released by King Abdullah II in 2004, is important to the work of JICRC. The document is critical in defining the religious climate in the Middle East and beyond, and it calls for tolerance on behalf of Muslims worldwide. Fr. Haddad, along with co-founder Sheikh Tamimi, were the first to deliver it abroad, beginning at the UN Security Council in November 2004. JICRC hosted a 2005 conference supporting this statement that was attended by Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
The JICRC also promotes another document, “A Common Word Between Us and You,” which was penned by leading Muslim scholars in October of 2007, and well-received and responded to by Christian churches across the globe. The letter, written by Muslim leaders to their Christian counterparts, calls for building peace and understanding between both faith communities in the spirit of love of God and love of neighbor as common ground. JICRC was represented at major conferences at Yale and Georgetown, which offered direct support of this initiative.
In January of 2008, JICRC was successful in bringing to life a unique and historic document of Peaceful Coexistence, which was signed by top religious leaders, patriarchs, grand muftis, imams, and bishops from across the Middle East, all of them sharing in the Center’s vision and mission for bringing peace and conversation between Muslims and Christians.
Programs and Events
JICRC participates in interfaith efforts on the local, regional, and international levels. In addition to continually accepting visitors, organizing workshops, and youth camps, JICRC is working to promote a culture of understanding based on the principles outlined in its 2008 Document with the hope to alter the landscape of interfaith conversation in the Middle East and around the world. The following projects are examples of this work:
-Women for Coexistence: focuses on human rights, equality, and the role of women in raising awareness for coexistence, and encourages them to take a leadership role in fostering change for accepting the other.
-Imams for Coexistence: encourages and educates religious and community leaders to adopt an approach for understanding. One example is the program “Islam: Scholarship and Practice in the United States” where imams from Jordan, Syria, and Egypt were selected to visit the US to meet with religious leaders from a host of faith traditions and to witness American multiculturalism.
-Youth for Coexistence: hosts conferences, workshops, and summer camps for young people both in the region and from afar. JICRC truly believes that women and youth are the cornerstones for change; both play key roles in conferences and events at the center.
Membership and Staff
Co-Founder and Former Chairman: The late Sheikh Tamimi, Chief Justice and special advisor to His Majesty on Islamic Affairs, a major authority on Islam in the Muslim world
Vice Chairman: Sami Gammoh, Former Minister of Finance, Chairman and CEO of Jordan International Insurance Company
Members of the Board:
Bishop Suhail Dawani, Bishop of Jerusalem and Jordan Episcopal Church
Nuha Mayata, President of General Federation of Jordanian Women, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Center for Human Rights
Sheikh Dr. Hamdi Murad, Former Undersecretary for Ministry of Islamic Affairs
Bishop Munib Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
The Very Reverend Consantine Qarmash, Head of Greek Orthodox Church, Amman
Dr. Waleh Arabiyat, Uni of Jordan
Senator Nawal Faouri, PhD
The Very Reverend Nabil Haddad
The Center has 3-4 full time staff and is assisted by a large body of volunteers.
JICRC regularly accepts interns from around the world. Benefits include: gaining valuable experience working with a successful NGO, learning more about religious life and interfaith coexistence efforts in Jordan and the Middle East, and interacting with Jordanians to help to promote peace and tolerance in the community and throughout the world.