Lack of Religious Freedom in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

People often have an uninformed and positive view of Jordan in relation to religious freedom. The country is certainly better than some other places in the Middle East, but this is a good summary of the lack of religious freedom for Christians (who are ex-Muslims) in Jordan:
For example, Jordan has no codified laws on apostasy. Its legal system, being dominantly secular, limits the use of shari’a mostly to the Status courts. Article 104 of the Constitution creates two different court systems on religious matters: a) shari’a courts for Muslims, and, b) courts for recognised non-Muslim religions, whose members are exempted from shari’a. Although these courts do not have any criminal punishment mandates, their decisions on civic matters, such as marriage, inheritance and official registrations, can have serious consequences for an apostate. 

When a convert is taken to the Status court, accused of apostasy by a relative or spouse, the court refers to shari’a law. Since the court has no authority to hand down a criminal punishment, and because there are significant international implications in response to a ruling of capital punishment, apostasy charges take on the equivalence of the annulment of marriages, denial of inheritance and custody rights, removal of official records and confiscation of identification cards. In this way, even though apostasy is not a codified ‘crime’ in Jordan, a convert from Islam faces the risk of ‘civil death’. 
From No Place to Call Home by Ziya Meral (Surrey, UK: CSW 2008). And that's your tolerant, kind Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

PS: This report used to be available for free, online, but that link is now broken or the server is not working. Because of this, I have posted the document on Scribd:

No Place to Call Home, by Ziya Meral 


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