In January, 2010, Dr. Bill Campbell, assistant professor of theology and religious studies at CSS, visited Jordan on a fellowship from the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). The objective of the fellowship was to learn about teaching Islam and Middle East culture from the Jordanian perspective.
What Dr. Campbell gathered are impressions of the country and its people. For example, most of the Jordanians to whom he spoke felt that, although relations with the US are good, the US has not been evenhanded in its dealings in the Mideast. Specifically, they think that we have sacrificed the Palestinians for Israel and that we have ignored U.N. Resolution 242’s call for the return of property taken in the 1967 war. They argue that Israelis are still occupying Palestinian homes, effectively leaving the rightful owners homeless. They observed that Arabs are not as transient as Americans seem to be and, therefore, are more possessive of their homes and property—property that has been in the same family for generations.
Jordanians also object to the term “Islamic terrorism,” and reminded the group that Arabs, most of whom are Muslims, also suffer from terrorism. In addition, they noted that one of the unintended consequences of the U.S. war with Iraq was to destroy the balance against Iranian hegemony. Iran, they argued, does not like Arabs, but is using the Palestinian problem to promote its influence in the region.