memri
September 21, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10215

Islamists, Conservative Muslims Launch Intense Social Media Campaign Against Passing Of Children's Rights Bill In Jordan, Accuse It Of Violating Islamic Laws, Promoting Western Values

September 21, 2022
Jordan | Special Dispatch No. 10215

In April 2022, the Jordanian cabinet approved a proposal for a Children's Rights Bill. In July 2022, the bill was discussed in Parliament and referred to a joint Parliamentary committee that included the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee On Women And The Family to ensure its compatibility with Islamic law and Jordanian tradition. The Bill, whose advocates believe that it provides necessary legal protection for children, has been strongly apposed by Islamists and conservatives who launched an intense social media campaign against it. In their campaign, they labeled the bill "toxic" and stressed that passing it would be a "shame." The bill was also accused of promoting Western values, encourages children to rebel against their parents, engage in premarital sexual relationships, and allows them to change their religion.

The campaign against the bill is spearheaded by prolific Jordanian Islamist preacher Dr. Eyad Qunaibi, who is a Jordanian-Palestinian Salafi born in Kuwait in 1975 and who has published several videos on YouTube and posted hundreds of posts on Facebook and Twitter describing the bill as "very dangerous" and if passed, it will impact "us, our children, religion, [and] moral values."[1] Qunaibi who has 1,490,000 YouTube subscribers and almost 500,000 Twitter followers, named his campaign "Child law is toxic," a name that turned into a hashtag was trending in Jordan in August 2022. Supporters of his campaign launched several other hashtags including: "#Passing the law would be a shame"; "#the revised Bill is toxic"; "#jordan_against_child_law"; and "#Children's Bill is a threat to the child and the family."

Using these hashtags, Qunaibi and other Islamists and conservatives strongly reject the bill because, according to them, it conforms with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), goes against the teachings of Islam, promotes Western values, and encourages children to change their religion.

Elaborating on the reasons behind his objection to this bill and his position from the United Nations, Qunaibi wrote in English: "Our problem is not only with the disastrous consequences of this law, but rather with the mere idea of international organizations intervening in our lives as if we were a bunch of folks with no religion, legacy, values, or civilization. They are imposing their beliefs on us, and dictating for us our rights and responsibilities. This intervention is unacceptable, and it should be thrown right back in the faces of those behind it, not to mention that we have clarified the state of these organizations and dismantled them, showing how they enslave people under the guise of [promoting] human rights!"[2] Accusing the UN of wrecking families and spreading corruption, Qunaibi wrote: "Do you ever find the international organizations and their puppets – who raise the false slogan of 'women and children's rights' – supporting lawful marriage or family education on rights and responsibilities; maintaining the stability, affection, and exchange of mercy in the family? Definitely not. Their role is to only wreck families and spread corruption!"[3]

Qunaibi claimed that the UNCRC goes against the teachings of Islam. In a video published on his YouTube channel on August 7, 2022, he said: "UNCRC does not acknowledge the Quran as a source of legislation with regards to children, their rights and duties and is based on setting religions and their rules aside and creating its own legislations despite the fact that Allah said 'His is the creation, and His is the command' Quran 7:54 and as he created us, he has the right to command and prohibit. The convention contradicts our religion starting with its definition of children, which are defined as those who have not reached the age of 18 but the Shari'a of Allah defined children as those who have not reached puberty..."[4]

Rejectors of the bill argued that it does not suit the Jordanian people. For example, Jordanian lawyer Mo'tasim Abu Rumman, who has close to 9,000 Twitter followers, shared a short video on September 5, 2022, under the campaign hashtags, saying: "The proposed Children's rights bill came from countries 60% of whose children were born out of wedlock and 40% of whose children have experienced sexual harassment from within the family. This dark reality does not apply to Jordan by the grace of Allah. The bill and its articles do not suit us. The child law is toxic. It threatens children and families."[5]  

Condemning those who support the bill, Jordan-based Islamist Abdulrahman Thakir Al-Hashemi, a psychotherapist and a clinical psychological counselor, said in a video that was streamed live on September 2, 2022: "The reality is that these laws that you are trying to import to us... These laws that you bring from the swamps of the West are full of garbage. The society where it was brought up is full of garbage and I have no need for it."[6] In the same live stream, which featured six speakers, Jordanian preacher Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Taweel said that the objective of the proposed bill is "to strip children of the custody of their parents to become a property of the international system, international conventions and public entities. In short, this is what they want to achieve."

The bill was also condemned by Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, whose Jordan office released a statement on September 11, 2022, in which the group described the bill as "one of the forms of the war waged on Islam" and called on Jordanians to reject it. Hizb ut-Tahrir's statement states that the bill "was imported from UNICEF... does not relate to children's right in Islam at all and is one of the forms of the war waged on Islam, like its predecessors [in the form] of human rights bills and the CEDAW convention for women through which the West attempts to promote the values of rotten capitalism that contradicts nature and the corrupted freedoms and its destructive ramifications that are apparent in Western societies such as family breakdown, homosexuality, suicide, mixing up of lineages to the extent that 50 percent of children in Western societies are illegitimate children."[7] Hizb ut-Tahrir concluded its statement by noting that "the radical solution which will emerge soon with the permission of Allah is the establishment of the righteous caliphate upon the teachings of the prophet. This reviving project of the Ummah will end all the laws of the unbelievers that have been passed against our wills. It will stop the unbelieving capitalist countries that impose their rotten and corrupt values instead of the rules of Islam because they sense the looming emergence [of the caliphate] and that's why they intensify their wars against Islam. We call on you Muslims to work towards the establishment of the Caliphate state."

The bill's opponents continued their campaign even after it was revised and amended by the joint parliamentary committee and claimed that the amendments were "cosmetic." On September 12, 2022, Qunaibi published a new video in which he argued that the phrase "the best interests of the child," which is included in a revised version of the bill is "simply an introduction to taking away your children from you for many reasons including your being poor... Therefore, the definition of the concept of the best interest of the child is not taken from the definition of the local community or the values of the Islamic Shari'a and the concepts included in the local legislations regardless of similarity. Who defines the best interest? It is the competent authorities who define it, according to the standards of the UN. We will publish a detailed video showing that on top of the priorities of the best interest of the child is allowing children boys and girls to exercise their right to fornicate, change their gender, practice homosexuality, or migrating to a distant country away from their religious communities... This is one example of the phrase that seems glamorous – 'the best interest of the child' – while in fact it drips poison and the amendment of the bill did question it but rather added the phrase with a decision by the appropriate judicial authorities so that taking the children away from their parents could take place by a court order as is the case in France."[8]

 

[1] Youtube.com/watch?v=S8AUfOji-OI&t=1686s, July 30. 2022.

[2] Twitter.com/EyadQunaibi1/status/1564985685718847489, August 31, 2022.

[3] Twitter.com/EyadQunaibi1/status/1567851681030832129, September 8, 2022.

[4] Youtube.com/watch?v=zA9p2HihqpA&t=73s, August 7, 2022.

[5] Twitter.com/mutasemissa/status/1566853831320915969, September 5, 2022

[6] Youtube.com/watch?v=Q_Zq9oPjN8E, September 2, 2022.

[7] Facebook.com/HTJoMediaOffice/posts/pfbid0TPvUWBdtSTBUEMqwADdzytLXSRSDJhJUNE8h1bypQo9yBoLqem3S3Un3xXpS4r1Tl, September 11, 2022.

[8] Youtube.com/watch?v=OWnUubgZtAM, September 12, 2022.

Share this Report:

MEMRI
2022 End-Of-Year Campaign