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AMMAN (Petra) - The Amman Chamber of Commerce (ACC) has recently signed an agreement with the Euro-Mediterranean Association for Cooperation and Development (EMA) to strengthen cooperation in the fields of trade and investment between Jordan and Germany. Signed by ACC Chairman Riad Saifi and EMA’s President Horst Siedentopf on the sidelines of the Hamburg Logistics Forum, the agreement seeks to enhance business cooperation through exchanging ex....
The General Assembly held the Annual General meeting for the Arab Orphan Committee by the president of the Executive Committee Tayseer Kna'an. The partcipants discussed the activities of the Assembly in Jordan and Palestine and the most important development projects
The Committee of Training Courses and Continuing Education at Bar Association held a seminar about the environmental legislation between the legal concepts and practical application, it was attended by a large number of lawyers and those who are interested in the environmental field.

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Jordan - a ‘hospitable’ gate for Indonesians

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Ifound somewhere in a textbook a translation of an Arabic proverb that stirred my sentiment. It goes: “What comes from the heart reaches the heart, what comes from the mouth reaches the ears.” I did not realise the significance of its meaning until I landed in Jordan and got to know the hospitality of its people.

Jordan is the first Middle East country I visited where I encountered Arab culture. When I decided to visit it, my friends were not happy because they have their own opinion about Middle Eastern countries. Their main concern was my safety, being a single woman travelling in a Muslim country. Some of them even expressed prejudice. However, it did not prevent me from packing us and taking off. I still think that seeing is believing.

Travel to Jordan was also my first time in a country whose language I do not understand at all. It was maybe a brave move, but again, my curiosity was bigger than my lack of Arabic speaking skills. The good thing about this was that I could communicate heart to heart with the people.

In the Middle East, Jordan is for Indonesians not as popular a destination as Saudi Arabia, where Muslims perform the pilgrimage every year, but still, visiting holy sites which are close to Jordan such as Al Aqsa Mosque in old Jerusalem, by Muslims, Bethlehem in Palestine and Nazareth in Israel, by Christians, is like performing a pilgrimage. It is their wish as religious people to visit those places and that is not possible but from Jordan or Egypt.

This geopolitical situation makes Jordan an important country for Indonesians. It is no exaggeration to say that Jordan is the gate for Indonesians wishing to visit the holy sites in Palestine and Israel.

Moreover, Jordan and Indonesia have had good diplomatic relations. This was obvious in early June when, in a telephone conversation, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed sincere thanks to His Majesty King Abdullah for assisting the transfer of Indonesian volunteers in the Mavi Marmara flotilla to Amman so they could safely arrive in Jakarta.

The good current relation between the two countries can reach an even higher level, not only politically but also culturally.

From my recent 10-day visit to Jordan, I have come to realise that there are many Christian and Islamic holy places there. I believe there are few Indonesians, both Muslim and Christian, who know this.

The ancient cities and places where prophets struggled to spread the words and commands of God, the shrines of the prophets and friends of the Prophet Mohammad, and the sites cited in the Holy Koran are but few examples. These places are not only to be preserved, but also to be introduced and promoted as destinations for Islamic tours for more Muslims.

Of Indonesia’s 230 million population, 86 per cent are Muslim and 8 per cent Christians. It is said to be the largest Muslim-populated country in the world. While not all of them can afford to visit and see the holy sites in a country 10,000km away, many affluent Muslims so travel to Mecca all year round for the lesser pilgrimage. These people usually combine their travel with package tours to holy sites in countries neighbouring Saudi Arabia. I believe introducing Islamic holy sites in Jordan to Indonesia? Muslims will enhance not only the cultural but also the economic relations between the two countries.

This is not impossible to accomplish, as from my short visit I could see that Indonesians and Jordanians share a common culture of hospitality to visitors.

Respect for guests is one of Islam teachings, and I could see that in the heart of the Jordanian people. Being in a strange place whose culture I was not familiar with, the genuine hospitality of the people made me feel welcomed. “Ahla wa sahla” was the greeting I heard most from Jordanians when they greeted me as a newcomer, from a house in a small village in Jerash to the dessert by the Shobak castle.

I did not have to understand the language to get the sense of the friendliness of the Jordanians. I thought it could be because I came from a country with the largest Muslim population in the world and the people feel connected by this bond. But then, I realised that their friendliness was genuine, that it was the way Jordanians welcome their guests.

I have been travelling to different countries in the world; I feel that Jordanians’ hospitality is the most genuine

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