Jordan’s minister of Islamic Affairs told a recent mandatory gathering of several hundred of his country’s Muslim clerics that they must preach “moderate” Islam or face expulsion from the country.
Minister Hayel Dawood told his audience, “You clerics are our ground forces against the extremists,” The Washington Post reported. “Once you cross the red line (beyond moderate Islam), you will not be let back in,” he added.
Some of the mandates laid out by the Jordanian government demand that imams never criticize the Jordanian King, nor should they incite jihad against the country’s allies, or encourage sectarian strife between the sects of Islam.
Dawood also asked that imams keep their Friday sermons short and sweet. “Fifteen minutes is okay,” he said, reminding the audience that Muhammad was said to be “short and to point–often ten minutes, no more.”
According to the report, the government is offering $600 in government subsidies for imams who comply with the country’s demands.
An imam who was angered by the newly implemented government policy told the Post, “They’ve left no space for us in the mosque. … They’re not even allowing anyone to use the words ‘Islamic State.’”
Jordan has been increasingly worried about the threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), the jihadist group that has in short time taken a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq. Over the summer, the country saw several demonstrators with radicals sporting the Islamic State flag. According to The Washington Post, during one particular demonstration, protesters shouted, “Down, down with [King] Abdullah.” One of the Islamists told the Post, “We no longer trust or respect the government and have been searching for an alternative that ensures our basic rights. In the Islamic State, we have found our alternative.”