Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center (JICRC)

This profile was last updated in 2010

 

Country: Jordan
Type of Organization:  A non-governmental organization registered in Jordan that focuses on grassroots interfaith dialogue and coexistence.

 

Mission

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.

 

History

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 ChurchThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, 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 AdamAdam is Hebrew for "human, man." It is the name given to the first person created by God and as such has an important symbolic role in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions..”

 

Description

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 circlesIn some Pagan traditions, a “circle” refers to the people who gather for a ritual. When standing in a circle, all the participants are able to see each other, with no one member elevated over any other. This practice is often felt to encourage egalita..., the judicial system, clergyClergy are the body of ordained men (and in some cases women) who are authorized to perform the priestly, pastoral, or rabbinical duties of the community—as distinct from the laity whom they serve., 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 “IslamIslam in Arabic literally means “submitting” or “submission.” One who submits or surrenders his or her will to God is called a Muslim. While the whole of God’s creation is described as being inherently Muslim, human beings must choose whether to...: Scholarship and Practice in the United States” in partnership with AMIDEAST.  This was the first time a priestA priest is the leader of a religious community or congregation, specially trained and often ordained to service, who leads members of the community in the rituals and practice of shared and individual life. Many traditions have forms of priesthood.In the... brought a delegation of imamsImam means “leader,” particularly the person who leads the daily ritual prayer or, more broadly, to the one who serves as a leader of the community because of his religious learning. In Shi’i Islam, it refers to one of a succession of direct descend... 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.   

 

Important Documents

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 SheikhThe Arabic term “shaykh” literally means a gray-haired old man. The Persian term “pir” means “elder, master.” Both terms have become titles of respect for a leader with great authority or religious piety. In the context of Sufi orders, the sha... 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 churchesThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ... 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 GodGod is a term used to refer to the Divine, the Supreme being, Transcendent deity, or Ultimate reality. 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 bishopsA bishop is an ordained minister who supervises life in a diocese, synod, or other broad region and possesses, among other things, the authority to ordain clergy to the ministry of the church. The Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, and Protest... 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 MinisterMinister is a general term for a member of the clergy in the Christian church. The term has also come to use in other religious traditions to designate a member of the clergy (as in the Jodo Shinshu tradition and the Nation of Islam). of Finance, Chairman and CEO of Jordan International Insurance Company

Members of the Board:
BishopA bishop is an ordained minister who supervises life in a diocese, synod, or other broad region and possesses, among other things, the authority to ordain clergy to the ministry of the church. The Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, and Protest... Suhail Dawani, Bishop of JerusalemJerusalem, the ancient capital of Israel from the time of King David (c. 1000 BCE), was the ritual and spiritual center of the Jewish people for 1,000 years until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. For Jews, Jerusalem is still the geographical... and Jordan EpiscopalEpiscopal refers to any church in which authority is vested in a bishop (Greek episkopos). More particularly it refers to the Episcopal Church in America, which developed from the Church of England after the American Revolution. 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 MinistryMinister is a general term for a member of the clergy in the Christian church. The term has also come to use in other religious traditions to designate a member of the clergy (as in the Jodo Shinshu tradition and the Nation of Islam). of Islamic Affairs

Bishop Munib Younan, Bishop of the EvangelicalThe Greek word euangelion means “good news” and an evangelist is one who proclaims and shares the good news of Christ. Evangelism is the preaching and witnessing to that good news. Evangelicals are Christians who emphasize the personal experience of G... LutheranLutheranism is a Protestant tradition following the theology of Martin Luther (1483-1546), the reformer who was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church and launched the German reformation. He emphasized the sole authority of the Bible, the priesthoo... Church in Jordan and the Holy Land

The Very Reverend Consantine Qarmash, Head of Greek OrthodoxIn general, orthodox means having a “correct opinion or outlook” and is a term used by people in many religions who claim authority for traditional views and forms of their religion. 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.

 

Internship Opportunities

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.