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» 12/28/2004
JORDAN - CHRISTMAS
A Christmas of lights and contrasts
Iraqi exiles celebrate Christ's birth.

Amman (AsiaNews) – In Jordan's capital of Amman, the joy of Christmas is contagious for both Christians and non Christians.

Children bursting with energy welcome a Santa figure. Veiled or not, mothers gladly abide while their precious little ones stock up on happy memories and gifts.

It all begins as the weather gets colder. Hundreds of tiny gleaming lights appear from behind a few scattered windowpanes towards the end of November.

Random glimpses of red and green start sparkling with excitement from the windows of Amman's little shops, gradually lending that excitement to the atmosphere, infecting passers-by with their epidemic of joyful expectation, catching on, slowly at first, then faster as December rolls in, bringing with it a chaotic motion of crowded streets and traffic jams.

Christmastide brings a pleasant surprise to the eye. Accustomed to the desert sand, one's gaze falls on the quenching green of garlands, wreaths and trees, in contrast with the usual order of nature. 

In Amman, Iraqi exiles also celebrated Christmas this year. In the last two months some 2,000 of them have fled their homeland to find refuge in Jordan.

They left out of fear after receiving threats and following a series of bomb attacks against churches by Islamic fundamentalists.

Amman's Iraqi Christian community is now 7,000 strong. Among the exiles, some still hope that Christmas might enable them to go back home.

"Of course, the situation is bad," said one who spoke on condition of anonymity. "But it is not wickedness as some might think."

"I have been in Amman for a few weeks," he added, "but I want to go back to Baghdad soon. What's happening there—bombs, attacks, threats—is the work of a small group of foreigners".

The Christian minority celebrated Christmas, first with the traditional Christmas Eve dinner, then with Midnight Mass.

Some 274,000 Christians—68,000 Catholics—live in the land where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist and where the Holy Trinity manifested itself after Christ's immersion in the Jordan River.


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See also
12/28/2004 PAKISTAN – CHRISTMAS
Christmas, a holiday that brings Christians and Muslims closer together
12/14/2004 MALAYSIA
Christmas without Jesus in Malaysia
12/24/2004 MALAYSIA
Jesus back in Christmas carols
01/20/2005 PAKISTAN
Pakistani Christians pray for ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue
09/23/2005 JORDAN
Inter-faith dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims against consumerism and fundamentalism
by Jihad Issa
PAKISTAN – CHRISTMAS
Christmas, a holiday that brings Christians and Muslims closer together
VATICAN
Let violence end, everywhere peace is needed, says the Pope
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The bread of life was born tonight, says the Pope
HONG KONG - CHINA
Christmas fosters hope burdened by politicians' 'decadence', says Bishop Zen
SRI LANKA
Yes, to peace and justice; no to death penalty, says Colombo bishop
MALAYSIA
Jesus back in Christmas carols
ISRAEL – PALESTINE – VATICAN
Christmas, peace in the Holy Land, peace on earth
BANGLADESH
Christmas in the orphanage or how the joy of the season meets hope for the future
UZBEKISTAN
Christmas in Tashkent after the wounds of Soviet atheism
THAILAND
Buddhists and other non Christians will attend Christmas mass
PHILIPPINES
The essence of Christmas is God made flesh, says Archbishop Cruz
PHILIPPINES
Pre-dawn mass to celebrate the coming of Christ
INDIA
Gujarat Christians want a Christmas without violence
PAKISTAN
Christmas in an Islamic country: festivities, traditions and solidarity
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Days that seem to announce peace, says Patriarch Michael Sabbah
IRAQ
We shall celebrate Christmas even amidst all the violence, Chaldean Patriarch says
SRI LANKA
Catholic church set on fire near Colombo
VATICAN
May the Christmas tree teach us to give ourselves, says the Pope
ISRAEL – PALESTINE – HOLY LAND
Uncertainty on Christmas Eve for the peoples and governments of Israel and Palestine
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
Israeli Christians to visit Bethlehem this Christmas
SOUTH KOREA
Christmas trees in a Buddhist temple to honour Jesus' birth
THAILAND
Christmas concert by Thai prisoners' band
CHINA
No more tickets to pay for midnight mass
INDONESIA
Indonesia orders security clamp down after terror warning
PALESTINE
Somber Christmas in Bethlehem after Arafat's death
MALAYSIA
Christmas without Jesus in Malaysia
China - vatican
Christmas Midnight Mass for a fee at the Beijing Cathedral
INDONESIA
Tight security ahead of Christmas season
VATICAN
The crèche is a sign of culture and faith, Pope says
IRAQ
Bearing witness to Christ at the peril of one's life, says Father Ragheed in Mosul
PALESTINE
Palestinian Christians fear their country might become an Islamic state
PALESTINE
Between old fears and new hopes, celebrating Advent in Bethlehem

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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