AMMAN: A member of Jordan’s Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System, Wafa Al-Kharda, has stepped down under public pressure following statements on Eid Al-Adha sacrifices that were deemed anti-Islamic.
Al-Khadra, professor of English at the American University of Madaba, submitted her resignation on Friday from the committee, which was formed by Jordan’s King Abdullah II on June 10 to overhaul the kingdom’s political system.
In a comment posted on her Facebook account, Al-Khadra criticized what she described as the “unjustified slaughter of sheep” during Eid Al-Adha, claiming the annual ritual has nothing to do with Islam.
In her comment, which she later deleted, Al-Khadra wrote: "Sheep butchering and serving it as Udhiyah (sacrifice) is unjustified and has nothing to do with Islam … the ritual is inhumane and lacks mercy.”
She also claimed that the practice went against modern concepts of environmental and ecosystem balance.
Al-Khadra’s comments prompted unhappiness from the public, with many people taking to social media to demand her resignation from the committee.
The Ifta Department issued a statement, denouncing Al-Khadra’s remarks on Eid Al-Adha sacrifice but without mentioning her name.
The department’s Secretary-General Ahmed Hassanat said: “The purpose for the creation of animals and all creatures is the service of man."
A group of retired army generals, calling themselves the Brothers in Arms Assembly, called for Al-Khadra’s dismissal from the committee, arguing that her remarks betrayed “hatred of the country’s religious constants.”
Al-Khadra issued a statement on Thursday in which she said that her remarks were taken out of context and that she did not mean what had been “misunderstood.”
She also said that she respects the Udhiyah ritual as an integral part of Islam.
The head of the committee, Samir Rifai, called on all members to adhere to the code of ethics they signed up to, and not to engage themselves in controversial matters.
In a letter sent to all members, Rifai, a former prime minister, also called for respect for the religious establishment and norms in Jordan.
Committee spokesperson Muhannad Mubeidin told government-owned Al-Mamlakah TV that Rifai referred Al-Khadra’s resignation to King Abdullah, who accepted it.
On June 26, another member of the committee, Oraib Rentawi, also resigned following outrage at a statement he made on the 1968 Battle of Al-Karama between Jordan and Israel.
In an opinion piece in Ad-Dustour newspaper, Rentawi claimed that the conflict was between the Palestinian resistance, under the leadership of the late leader Yasser Arafat, and Israel.
Jordan celebrates the Battle of Al-Karama on March 21 as the first Arab victory against Israel by the Jordanian Armed Forces under the leadership of late King Hussein.
Rentawi’s remarks were received with public anger, especially from ex-army personnel who fought in the battle.