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Friends of the Earth Middle East Jordan River Project

FoEME members celebrate in the Jordan River

This page has not been updated since June 2014.

Joint Christian, Jewish and Muslim pilgrim site

The River Jordan is an iconic part of the Hebrew bible and New Testament as well as being referred to in Islamic sources. While pilgrims are drawn to the wealth of associations with miracles and prophets its position between Jerusalem, Jericho and the sea port of Jaffa makes it an inevitable part of pilgrim routes for Christian, Islamic and Jewish believers alike. Its banks have several baptism sites drawing over 800,000 pilgrims a year.

Fresh water being let into the Lower Jordan River
Water diversion, pollution and inappropriate development have all contributed to degrading the river and its environment, despite a 20-year old peace treaty between Jordan and Israel to rehabilitate the Jordan river. As a tri-lateral Jordanian, Palestinian, Israeli environmental peacemaking organization founded in 1994 with offices in Amman, Bethlehem, and Tel-Aviv the FoEME is a unique example of joint collaboration in the region.

Their campaigning work has already led to the building of waste water treatment works and the re-introduction of fresh water into the river itself, as well as the development of 3 eco-parks and a partnership with faith-based ‘champions’ working to advance the rehabilitation of the river.

Progress so far

Friends of the Earth Middle East River Jordan project joined the GPN as members at Trondheim. In November they held a meeting for faith leaders in Jordan to launch the Jordan River Covenant which condemns the degradation of the Jordan River and has the vision of a healthy, living river. They have produced three source books for educators and community leaders to use on water, ecology and the Jordan River in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions.

ARC’s Islamic Advisor, Dr Husna Ahmad helped compile the resource book for Muslim visitors (taking as her starting point the quote from the Qu’ran that “We made from water every living thing”) and attended the launch. “I think what I take away with me from the experience is the great hospitality of the Jordanian people. Also in terms of Friends of the Earth Middle East, the sense that despite all the resistance to their work they have overcome so many obstacles and are really making steps even if very small steps towards peace in the region. There were people from Palestine and Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, who were genuinely interested in building bridges and appreciating the 'other'.

Important developments reported at the launch included the news that the National Mine Clearance authority in Jordan will start removing landmines from alongside a 30 km stretch of the river, giving the public access to parts of the river previously closed off. In another development three EcoParks have been created by FoEME, with protected areas for birds and butterflies, and with a Neighbors Path providing safe open spaces for the community.

Useful links

FoEME website

Downloadable source books n the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions

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Related information

Green pilgrimage network members
The vision is of pilgrims on all continents and the pilgrim cities that receive them, leaving a positive footprint on the Earth
GPN Handbooks & Leaflets
Downloadable leaflets and handbooks for greening pilgrimage aimed at different faith groups
ARC and the Faiths
Faith communities are working in countless ways to care for the environment. This section outlines the basics of each faith’s history, beliefs and teachings on ecology.