We are used to hearing Muslim fundamentalists voice support for jihad and terrorism, but when a prominent Arab Christian publicly comes out in favor of jihad, it is surreal — especially at a time when Christians are being persecuted and slaughtered in a number of Arab countries.
But Jordanian parliament member Tarek Khoury obviously does not care about the plight of his fellow Christians.
Khoury told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that he supports "jihad operations" against Israel.
The Christian legislator said he feels "disappointed" when an Arab regime equates terrorists with those who act against Israel.
"It's not our job to protect the usurping Zionist entity which targets Jordanians and Palestinians," Khoury declared. He said that jihad against Israel should be excluded from crimes which the Jordanian State Security Court is authorized to look into.
The Christian legislator even went as far as quoting a hadith [saying] attributed to Prophet Mohamed: "If one inch of the land of Muslims is occupied, jihad becomes an individual duty of every Muslim."
Khoury cited the case of female terrorist Sajedah al-Rishawi, who was involved in the 2005 suicide bombings in Amman.
He pointed out that as al-Rishawi had been tried before a Jordanian court for terrorism, while "anyone who tries to wage jihad against the Zionist enemy is also brought to trial for the same charges."
Bassam al-Badareen, a respected journalist in Amman, noted that the real surprise lies in the fact that Khoury is an important parliament member who represents Jordan's Christian minority, which makes up around 10% of Jordan's population.
Most of the kingdom's Christians have left to the U.S., Canada and Europe over the past few decades in search of better lives. When the kingdom was established, Christians made up 30% of the population.
Instead of representing the true interests of the Christian minority, Khoury has allied himself with the Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood organization and the Palestinian Hamas movement. It is because of such Islamic groups that Christians no longer feel comfortable living in Jordan and other Arab countries.
He has also joined the bandwagon of Jordanian legislators who have been pressuring their government to cancel the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel. Calls for expelling the Israeli ambassador to Jordan have become a weekly occurrence in the kingdom.
On a number of occasions, some Jordanian parliamentarians have set fire to the Israeli flag inside the chamber.
Not only is Khoury ignoring the plight of his fellow Christian citizens, but he is also turning a blind eye to what is happening in nearby countries, especially Egypt and Syria.
It is notable that Khoury's call for launching terror attacks on Israel comes at a time when two bishops, a priest and 12 nuns are still missing after being kidnapped in Syria. It is also interesting to see that his support for jihad comes at a time when Christians are being slaughtered and churches torched in Syria and Egypt.
Most of the anti-Christian attacks are being described by the perpetrators as "jihad operations" – the same term Khoury uses to justify terror attacks against Israel. The jihadis view the Christians as infidels and a fifth column.
So why is someone like Khoury openly supporting jihad? There could be two answers to this question. First, he may be trying to appease the Islamists so they they will not turn against him and his community in Jordan. Second, Khoury may be another enemy of Israel who thinks it is fine to carry out suicide bombings or, as he calls them, jihad operations, against women and children.
But what Khoury perhaps does not know – or does not want to know – is that one of the few places where Christians can still lead normal lives is in the same country he wants to see targeted by jihadis: Israel. If he has endorsed jihad and Islamic fundamentalism, what is stopping Khoury from converting to Islam and joining Al-Qaeda or one of the jihadi groups in Syria?