Monday, August 21, 2006

Another encounter with Jordanian security

A close friend had a disturbing encounter with undercover Jordanian security agents in Amman. He was resting on a bench at Wasfi Al-Tall Street when a civilian vehicle carrying three men pulled over next to him. One of them motioned to him to come forward. They asked for his ID, to which he offered them his Iraqi passport.

Then they questioned him on his background. They wanted detailed information on where he lived in Baghdad and what tribe he was from. One of them bluntly asked him if he was Sunni or Shi’ite. My bewildered friend told them he’s Christian.

Then they went through the contents of his wallet and a plastic bag he had left on the bench. In the end they questioned him on his business in Jordan and left.

Many of my Jordanian friends and contacts insist that the authorities here don’t differentiate between Sunni and Shi’ite Iraqis. Why, then, the repeated questions both at the border and the airport on tribal and sectarian background?