Five students, one girl and four boys, at Al Al-Bayt University in Mafraq, Jordan were arrested and held for “Devil Worshipping”. The students are accused of ripping up then burning the Quran while performing a “religious ritual” in a toilet in a campus bathroom then being attacked by large group fellow students.
The Human Rights Watch, a US based group, has demanded Jordan to release the students and rather arrest the other students who attacked the accused. The group has been working with one of the accused students’ sister who witnessed the incident and said the group of attackers was made up of about 200 students. The sister then went on to say, “The attackers appeared to have targeted the five students because they frequently dress in black and are rock music devotees,” the statement said. The accused students were pulled to safety by campus officials and then arrested by local officials. All five students deny their involvement in their accused crime of desecrating the Quran and “devil worshipping”.
Jordan, a country that jails people for 3 years for disrespecting a Quran, is in turmoil over this case. A well known sheikh and leader of the Salafi-Jihadi said in an interview that it is okay to kill these five students since they are “infidels”, his statement is supported by many Facebook groups and posts in Jordan calling for their murder.
It’s hard to imagine this case, especially since the evidence is not very concrete. Imagine a young college student in the states doing something similar? It would be seen as a rebellious act in which the student may receive backlash for a while before it fades. Think about the people in our own country who burn the flag, or bibles, while it is severely looked down upon, the media attention is slim. Jordan, a small Arab country has made international headlines and caught the attention of human rights groups globally, with their reaction and consequences to a supposed rebellious act.