By Suzanna Goussous – Jan 16,2016 -JORDAN TIMES
A view of Rmeimeen town north of Amman on Friday where a mosque stands next to a church in the mixed Muslim-Christian community (Petra photo)
AMMAN — Church bells rang in Balqa’s Rmeimeen town on Friday in celebration of the opening of a neighbouring mosque after renovation, in an expression of coexistence among Jordanians, Awqaf Minister Hayel Dawood said on Saturday.
“The church also played the hymn of peace to celebrate the opening of the nearby mosque,” the minister told The Jordan Times.
“Residents of Rmeimeen always visit each other on religious occasions; they are a model of coexistence… it is not a surprise to see such actions,” Dawood added.
The mosque was originally built in the 1970s, next to two churches, one of which was constructed more than 110 years ago, according to the minister.
The old mosque was small, but it was renovated on an area of half a dunum and expanded by 1,000 square metres over the past few months.
The renovation cost JD250,000, donated by residents over the past few months.
“Rmeimeen has welcomed Christian and Muslim citizens for hundreds of years. It is not new to see the good relations between its residents; this town has never witnessed a sectarian conflict,” Dawood said.
“It has always been a relationship of mutual respect, love, and compassion,” he added.
Father Rifat Bader, director of the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media, said “we try to ‘export’ the message of coexistence to neighbouring countries and the world”.
“We have many historic places that belong to Islam and Christianity and are next to each other. The juxtaposition of these stones brings people closer. Coexistence is not something new we celebrate,” he told The Jordan Times.
Bader said Friday’s event was a “spontaneous” action driven by joy and happiness and from a history of coexistence that reflects the real image of the Kingdom.
“This gesture is not only for local consumption and application; it is to send a message to the outside world about the possibility of conviviality despite having different beliefs and religions. It represents our image of Jordan.”