• Promotion of the Amman Message Project:

    The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS), in cooperation with the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in Jordan, contracted by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC) and funded by the European Union, has undertaken a two-year project to support the promotion of the ‘Amman Message’. The aim of this project is to promote the Amman Message in order to contribute to good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to counter the root causes of terrorism and violence. In addition to seeking common ground, the Project aims to build awareness and understanding to enable the appreciation and acceptance of living with difference. It further seeks to raise the profile of the humanitarian, civilized role of Islam, while promoting intercultural and interreligious dialogue and creating platforms for discussion between different communities and audiences.

    Specific issues relating to negative perceptions about Muslims generally and Muslims in Europe in particular, have grown in recent years. Whilst in parts of Europe, intra-Islamic tensions do exist, they are less significant than in Muslim and Arab countries. An important challenge in Europe is to project a more tolerant and respectful image of Islam, with a view to reducing anti-Muslim sentiment among certain European communities. There is therefore an urgent need to raise awareness among indigenous European nations about Islam, as portrayed in the Amman Message.

    Over the two-year period, the Project developed and established a multi-leveled discourse that tackles in-depth diverse and complex dimensions of religious conflicts amongst Muslims and between Muslims and non-Muslims, in Jordan, the wider Arab region and certain countries of Europe.

    Objectives

    The principal objective of this two-year Project is to support the Promotion of the Amman Message and further endorse its religious credibility and humanist appeal. The Project aimed to utilize the Message for the attainment of good governance in order to curb forms of religious violence, protect human rights and counteract the root causes of terrorism.

    More specifically, the action sought to tackle the root causes of misunderstanding and mistrust amongst Muslims and non-Muslims, in Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, as well as in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Italy. This will be achieved by developing and establishing a multileveled discourse that derives its legitimacy from an enlightened Islamic scholarly research that tackles in-depth and complex dimensions of religious conflicts.

    Specific Objectives

    The following objectives summarize the Promotion of the Amman Message Project’s action plan:

    • To increase awareness at the national, regional and international levels of the Islamic values within the Amman Message;
    • To contribute to the eradication of stereotypical images of Islam as a historical and fossilized religion, and as inconsistent with ‘modernity’;
    • To pinpoint the inconsistencies of extremist discourses, utilizing their own theoretical and moral references and religious paradigms;
    • To establish an effective coordination mechanism among the key stakeholders responsible for the promotion of the Amman Message;
    • To prepare, endorse and implement an education campaign on the Amman Message;
    • To strengthen the administrative capacity of the key stakeholders for the promotion of the Amman Message;
    • And to assist Jordan in taking part in international initiatives in the fields of interfaith and cross-cultural relations.

    Result # 1

    Increased awareness of the values of the Amman Message (AM), in Jordan, the region and Europe. This will be achieved by conducting and collating surveys in Europe, and through research, educational programs, awareness-raising campaigns and partnerships between different Jordanian and European stakeholders. The AM will be translated into no less than three additional European languages.

    Related activities:
    • A Formative Conference in Jordan will be held under the coordination of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and RIIFS, bringing together participants from Jordan, the Arab world and Europe.
    • Five seminars will be organized in the UK, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Italy to examine specific issues in each geography. Local participation will allow the discussion of each particular national context, as well as the participation of other Europeans.
    • The ‘Amman Message’ will be translated into Danish, Greek and Italian, having already been translated into Arabic, English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Chinese.
    • On the occasion of World Interfaith Harmony Week (an initiative proposed by HM King Abdullah to the UN General Asembly and unanimously adopted in 2010), events will take place during the first weeks of February 2013 and 2014.

    Result # 2

    Enhanced coordination mechanisms among key stakeholders towards further promotion of the Amman Message content. This will be achieved through dialogue with different partners in Jordan and Europe to provide guidance to the Project and establish a research committee aimed at gathering scholars’ contributions and research papers, prepared by credible, enlightened and well informed intellectuals from both the Arab world and Europe.

    Related activities:
    • A Project website will be developed, to foster a wide international network.
    • A workshop with media representatives in Jordan will be held, during which they will be encouraged to promote the Amman Message through their local, regional and international media organizations.

    Result # 3

    Enhanced administrative capacity of the key stakeholders towards further promotion of Amman Message ethics. This will be achieved through capacity-building programs and institutional partnerships.

    Related activities:
    • The Project will conduct capacity-building programs, directly and through cascading (training of trainers), for Imams, teachers of religion and women preachers. Activities also include training for opinion leaders and a certificate course for teachers, imams and women preachers.
    • Within the region, the project will conduct two youth study seminars, one in E gypt and the other in Lebanon. These activities aim at promoting the Amman Message through interactive workshops and enlightened and peaceful forms of dialogue and interaction. They will also create unique environments and engagements that encourage coexistence.
    • Three seminars will be held in Jordan, with local and European participants, to examine the issues and experience in countering extremist narratives.
    • Study visits will be conducted for Jordanian and European Imams with the aim of establishing networks and enable Jordanian Imams to communicate the AM. The visit will also enable participants to become familiar with each other’s religious practices and to share thoughts and opinions in order to enrich both groups.

    Result # 4

    More informed curricula disseminated on the ethical dimensions of Islam and its values. This will be achieved by conducting an education campaign on the Amman Message through the establishment of a new higher education program on Religion and Culture at RIIFS during the two-year period of the project. Conferences and seminars in Europe and Jordan will be used to confirm directions and approaches, and suggest proposed content, curricula and approaches to international critique. For each of the specified training a trainer manual will be issued and widely disseminated.

    Related activities:
    • An MA Program in Religion and Culture established by RIIFS will be introduced as part of the Project. The Amman Message will be integrated into the curricula of the Master course by focusing on its content.
    • Training manuals will be developed for all training sessions for Imams, teachers and women preachers, as well as for school-level and university programs.
    • Additionally, the research in Jordan, the region and Europe, as well as the papers submitted during the seminars and conferences by scholars of religion will be edited and published in a final volume at the end of the Project.

    Result # 5

    Create partnerships and links amongst schools, universities and Islamic community organizations. This will lead to the creation of platforms for dialogue amongst different groups to help eradicate stereotypical images of Islam. Institutional partnerships between different organizations in Jordan and Europe over the two-year period will be established, leading to an increased awareness of the different contexts and creating dialogue platforms amongst different stakeholders.

    Related activities:
    • The Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures (ALF), whose Jordanian Network of over sixty civil society organization members is headed by RIIFS, will hold workshops to promote the Amman Message.
    • A cultural week for youth will take place in Jordan, consisting of discussion groups, lectures and field visits.
    • A school-based competition will also be organized, to encourage schools throughout Jordan to become more involved in the Project. The prize winners of the competition will join a study tour to Europe, while youth leaders from Europe will visit Jordan to explore links, raise their awareness about the Message and discuss curricula.
    • The media-related activities will consist of campaigning for the project activities, including social media, which will raise awareness about the progress of the project. Short video clips will be produced, as well as public service announcements. Participation in television and radio talk shows will promote the different activities internationally.

    Target Groups

    The Project is focused on a complex array of target groups and final beneficiaries and on the enhancement of their technical and management capacities.
    • Islamic clergy and faith leaders (Imams and women preachers): The training and campaigning activities will develop specific and transferable skills, both in terms of religious content and, most importantly, in soft skills, pedagogy and communications.
    • School communities (teachers and pupils): The planned activities with international school linking, school-based competitions and teacher enhancement will transform the awareness of thousands of Jordanian and European school-age students, a particularly important social group.
    • University communities (students and lecturers): The universities represent key institutions where informed and open dialogue on these complex matters takes place. The Project’s activities will help transform these communities to become central repositories of interfaith dialogue.
    • Wider grassroots communities (members and leaders): Transferring good practice between community-based organizations in Jordan and Europe will transform this non-formal group, raising their potentials as communicators and facilitators of interfaith contact and dialogue through confidence building experience and study tours.
    • Academics: The religious credibility of dealing with the Message, and the ability to lead academics to open discussion and dialogue will transform this community by growing confidence and the space for international dialogue and exchange.
    • The media in Jordan, the Arab region and Europe: Providing expert press releases and copy for journalists will transform the materials available to the media, and help influence a stronger and more balanced coverage of the Message.

    Stakeholders

    Key stakeholders in Jordan will include the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and the Ministry of Educationlocal NGOs,universities, media, and high profile intellectuals who all will have the opportunity to share their experiences and be exposed to the various activities of the action. 
    Stakeholders in Europe will include Muslim Councils in Europeuniversities, intellectuals and faith and thought leaders
    The Amman Message will be shared between youth in Jordan and Europe, regardless of their belief. Jordanian students, academics, Imams, women preachers, community organizations and media will be actively involved in various activities of the action, reaching the wider Jordanian community, which is the final beneficiary of this action. European Muslims and non-Muslims, academics, students and media will also be actively involved in the different activities.

    EU-Jordan Partnership

    The EU has developed a close partnership with Jordan, a country that aims to act as a force of moderation and reform in a region in political turmoil. It is the EU’s objective to support Jordan in this endeavor.
    The relationship emphasizes close cooperation on democratic reform and economic modernization. 
    The current agenda of EU-Jordan relations is spelled out in an Action Plan under the European Neighborhood Policy. The legal basis for the EU - Jordan relationship is the Association Agreement.
    The EU aims to assist Jordan in the implementation of its home grown reform process. The strategy and priorities 
    of the EU’s assistance are set out in the Country Strategy Paper.

    The European Neighborhood Policy and the EU-Jordan Action Plan

    The objective of the European Neighborhood Policy is to share the benefits of the EU’s 2004 enlargement with 
    neighboring countries in strengthening stability, security and well-being for all concerned countries. It is designed to prevent the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbors and to offer them greater 
    political, security, economic and cultural co-operation.
    The European Neighborhood Policy is implemented through a jointly agreed Action Plan, covering a number of key areas for specific action, including political dialogue and reform and justice and home affairs.

    National Agenda

    In November 2005, Jordan has developed a comprehensive strategy of modernization and delivered, a 
    National Agenda of reforms for the period 2006-2015, which develops a set of priorities and action plans in the political, social and economic fields. The National Agenda was conceived on a ‘holistic’ basis, to define comprehensive 
    strategies and initiatives with a view to realizing social, economic and political development.
    The themes developed in the document include political development and inclusion, and legislation and justice.

    Current State of Affairs in the Relevant Sector

    The 'Amman Message' started as a detailed statement released the eve of the 27th of Ramadan 1425 AH / 9th November 2004 by 
    His Majesty King Abdullah in Amman, Jordan. Its goal was to clarify the true nature of Islam and the nature of true Islam.

    The overall amount made available for this project is 
    EUR 800.000.-

    BACKGROUND

    Picture The Amman Message initially began as a statement released by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan in November 2004. The statement sought to affirm what Islam is and what it is not, and what actions represent it and what actions do not. Its goal was to clarify to the modern world, “the true nature of Islam and the nature of true Islam.”

    In order to give this statement more religious authority, King Abdullah sent the following three questions to twenty-four of the most senior religious scholars from all around the world, representing all the branches and schools of Islam: 1) Who is a Muslim? 2) Is it permissible to declare someone an apostate (takfīr)? 3) Who has the right to undertake issuing legal rulings (fatwās)?

    Based on the response received from these key religious figures, HM King Abdullah convened, in July 2005, an international Islamic conference of 200 of the world’s leading Islamic scholars (`ulamā’) from fifty countries. The scholars unanimously issued a ruling on three fundamental topics, which became known as the “Three Points of the ‘Amman Message’”:

    1. They specifically recognized the validity of all eight legal schools (madhāhib) of Sunni, Shi`a and Ibadi Islam; of traditional Islamic Theology (Ash`arism); of Islamic Mysticism (Sufism); and of true Salafi thought; they came to a precise definition of who is a Muslim.
    2. Based upon this definition, they forbade declarations of apostasy (takfīr) between Muslims.
    3. Based upon the madhāhib, they set forth the subjective and objective preconditions for the issuing of fatwās, thereby exposing ignorant and illegitimate edicts in the name of Islam.


    Within a period of one year, the Three Points of the Amman Message had been unanimously endorsed by over 500 leading Muslim scholars worldwide. This is good news for both Muslims and non-Muslims, for it assures balanced Islamic solutions for essential issues, such as human rights, women’s rights, freedom of religion and just and democratic government.

    The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS)

    Picture The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS) was established in 1994 in Amman, Jordan under the patronage of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal. RIIFS is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that provides a venue for the interdisciplinary study of intercultural and interreligious issues with the aim of defusing tensions and promoting peace, regionally and globally.

    We live in a troubled world that is in need of deeper mutual understanding between diverse religions and cultures. RIIFS focuses on promoting common human and ethical values that contribute to strengthening cooperation and interfaith relations, eliminating mutual misconceptions about the ‘other’, and ultimately expanding the shared commonalities in the hope of promoting peaceful coexistence.
    To further widen its original scope, the Institute has established an academic higher studies program that offers an M.A. degree in Religion and Culture. This program is accredited by, and offered in cooperation with Yarmouk University in Jordan. The program is tailored to address the question of the roles of religion and culture in contemporary societies. In addition to the academic program, various training programs targeting preachers and teachers of religion will be designed in cooperation with the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, as well as other Jordanian institutions, to enhance their skills in core religious issues, public address and online research.

    Since December 2010, RIIFS has hosted the Jordanian Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures (ALF). As head of the National Network, which consists of over sixty civil society organization members, RIIFS engages the network in organizing activities that are consistent with ALF’s strategy, and represents the network in its international conferences and events.

    The Institute is governed by a Board of Trustees chaired by HRH Prince El Hassan. The work of RIIFS also involves research and publication, as well as the organization of lectures, conferences and workshops. RIIFS invites and accepts applications from scholars, on a selective basis, as visiting research associates, from Arab and other countries, to involve them in the work of the Institute. 

    Project Team

    Ms. Yara Matarweh Project Manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    More than 12 years of practical experience in:
    • Preparing Financial Statements.
    • Budgets monitoring,Following up and reporting
    • Financial Managements
    • B.A Accounting from Mu’tah University, 2000
    • Diploma in Accounting , Princess Alia College, Amman, 1998
    • Certified Management Accountant (CMA) * not certified, 2003

    Mr. Adnan MomaniProject Accountant This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    More than 14 years of practical experience in:
    • Preparation of financial statement.
    • Follow up income tax government & social security.
    • Preparing Monthly Payrolls.
    • Preparing Bank reconciliations.
    • Book keeping and pitty cash management.
    • Dealing with External Auditors.
    • B.A Accounting from Al Qadisiah University –Iraq-1998.
    • Jordanian Certified Public Accountant (JCPA) * not certified.

    Mrs. Nancy TannousLogistic and Admin CoordinatorThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    More than 25 years of practical experience in:
    • HR Management.
    • Secretarial work.
    • Conferences and Seminars, logistics preparations.
    • Diploma, Computer and System Analysis, Princess Alia College.

    H.E. Mr. Michel HamarnehProject AdvisorThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     Professional background of H.E. Mr. Michel Hamarneh, Director of RIIFS:

    2014: Director of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies.

    2005 – 2011: Member of the Senate.

    1997 – Present: Advisor to HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal.

    1988 – 1997: Director of the Office of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal

    1986 – 1987: Director of the Jerash Festival.

    1984 – 1988: Secretary General of the Ministry of Information.

    1977 – 1984: Director General of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

    1973 – 1977: Director of Jordan Information Bureau in USA and Canada and Chief Editor of Jordan's magazine which was published in Washington.

    1970 – 1973: Public relations director at the Tourism Authority.

    1967 – 1970: Jordan's tourism consultant in New York - member of the permanent Jordanian delegation at the United Nations – Jordan representative at the UN special political committee.

    1953 – 1957: Bachelor of Arts in Economics / American University - Beirut

    Dr. Amer Al HafiHead of the Research CommitteeThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    More than 14 years of practical experience in:
    • Studies in Religion.
    • Islamic faith
    •  Islamic sects.
    • Comparative religions.
    • Islam and contemporary issues.
    • The Islamic world today.
    • Science of Hadith.
    • Islamic culture.
    • Sufism
    • PhD in Theology, University of Alzaitona, Tunisia, 2003
    • M.A. in Theology, University of Alzaitona, Tunisia, 1996.
    • B.A. in Islamic Sciences (Department of Comparative Religions) University of Prince Abdul Qadir, Constantine, Algeria, 1989.

    Project Partners

    Picture

    British Council (BC)
    The British Council is the UK’s leading organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations established 76 years ago. It operates in 109 Countries running programs in the arts, education, English language, science and technology, sport and governance. The British Council creates ties between people in the UK and those in other countries. Its purpose is to strengthen understanding and trust between and within different cultures and support people striving for better-informed, more inclusive societies that accept, respect and welcome each other.
    The British Council has had an office in Jordan since 1948 and engages with all sectors of society ranging from government to civil society, religious organizations, universities, schools and individual customers. Through its project with the Ministry of Awqaf, since 2008 BC has worked with around 300 Jordanian Imams and preachers, fostering links with UK counterparts and incorporating capacity building in English Language and Information Communication Technology. Through partnerships with British media, it has introduced models for reflecting faith and belief in journalism and also supported Belief in Dialogue, a program that has explored the relationship between Science and Belief through symposia and exchanges.
    The British Council’s previous experience and network within the region and Europe will be an added value in terms of its ability to build partnerships between public and private institutions and its vast expertise in the areas of education, social development, youth engagement, and media promotion, focusing mainly on gender equality issues within the context of AM and create platforms for discussion on controversial issues. Role in Project Implementation as described above in the activity list.

    http://www.britishcouncil.org/jordan

    Picture

    University of Coventry Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo)
    ICoCo is a not-for-profit national applied research institute of Coventry University in the UK. ICoCo was established in 2005 to provide a new approach to diversity and multiculturalism. ICoCo works closely with the Center for Peace and Reconciliation at the University. Together, our work focuses on building positive and harmonious community relations, using applied research to develop practice on a continuous basis and to build capacity of all the agencies and individuals involved. Often, our capacity building work has been through the development of toolkit (published and on-line) and other guidelines.
    ICoCo produced a landmark study, Understanding and Appreciating Muslim Diversity Report (2008) that was a first in the UK and recognized the diversity within the Muslim community – and the many dimensions in theological, political and community terms. ICoCo has completed more than 70 local community reviews based upon the above, together with specific contextualization and, in consequence, has extensive local networks within the Muslim community. ICoCo is ideally placed to set up training programs and study visits and provide the opportunities for Jordanians to meet with a good variety of Muslim community representatives. Over the past three years, iCoCo designed and managed the ABC (Awards for Bridging Cultures) Awards program, a competition that encouraged and shared best practice. iCoCo has worked closely with British Council on the much heralded ‘Our Shared Europe’ Program what examines the contribution and status of Muslims in Europe, and the ‘Belief in Dialogue Program; in Jordan, iCoCo is currently developing new models for ‘dialogue’ within intercultural relations. ICoCo is fully active within the Anna Lindh networks and an active lead contributor within the UN Alliance of Civilizations.
    ICoCo and Coventry University brings distinctive practical experience of working with very diverse community groups, both in terms of inter-faith and intercultural relations. ICoCo’s access to the European Muslim community is significant. Role in Project implementation as described above in the activity list.

    http://www.cohesioninstitute.org.uk
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