Christians call for banning TV channels from baptism site

Published January 11th, 2023 - 05:31 GMT
baptism site
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa, arrives at the baptism site of 'al-Maghtas', where Jesus is believed by Christians to have been baptised by John the Baptist, in the Jordan river valley. (Photo by Khalil MAZRAAWI / AFP)

ALBAWABA - Jordanian Christians launched a social media campaign calling for banning local television channels from entering the baptismal site and broadcasting prayers in churches there.

The call comes as the minority Christian community in the kingdom gears up for the annual pilgrimage to the site, where tradition says that Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist.

In a Facebook post, the Jordanian Christian Youth urged the concerned authorities have the site off-limits to local TV channels, including Roya and AlMamlaka, and to prohibit them from sharing videos and photos from churches holding sermons during religious occasions planned in the area on the eastern bank of the Jordan River

The campaign started following a wave of hate speech on photos and videos shared by a Jordanian TV channel visualizing Christmas celebrations, including Christmas Eve prayers from churches in Jordan.

There was no immediate comment from the Jordanian government under the leadership of King Abdullah II, a tireless campaigner for tolerance and coexistence between the followers of the three monotheistic religions, namely Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Still, people asked Christian members of the parliament to speak up and back their demand to ban the TV channels from entering the baptismal site, as a beginning, since the pilgrimage is taking place this month.

Comments on social media varied between supporters and opponents of the call. Some said the ban should have been imposed a while back to prohibit broadcasting Christian celebrations as a way to prevent hate speech. On the other hand, other commentators argued that the move is not a practical solution to stop hate speech, recommending instead more intensive teaching of tolerance to children, specifically on how to accept other members in their community.

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