Jordan takes Islamic State battle to Internet, mosques

Looking to avoid the fate of its Islamist-overrun neighbors Syria and Iraq, Jordan is cracking down on firebrand preachers and online extremism to tackle jihadists after joining U.S.-led air strikes on the Islamic State group. Its decision in September to join the anti-IS coalition has put Jordan in even graver danger, but authorities insist its borders are secure and have launched a sweep against jihadists that extends to the Internet. Jordan, which passed its first anti-terrorism law in 2006, mandates that preachers must promote moderate Islam and refrain from making political statements.

Jordan is waging a war against jihadist ideology and amended the anti-terrorism law… because the Internet has become the main tool for mobilizing and recruiting.

Hasan Abu Haniya, analyst on Middle East affairs

Wary of terrorist threats, authorities have also moved to bring some of the country’s nearly 6,000 mosques under tighter control by weeding out preachers who deliver fiery pro-jihadist sermons. As in many other Arab countries where fears are mounting over the growing influence of jihadists, Jordan’s ministry of Islamic affairs appoints imams, pays their salaries and monitors their sermons.