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Jordan parliament amends mosque bill to require permission for preaching

[JURIST] Jordan's appointed Senate, the upper house of the National Assembly [official website], amended a bill regulating mosques Sunday so as to require preachers to obtain written government permission before being allowed to lead services or teach the Quran. Unauthorized preachers would face up to a month in prison and a fine. The measure was presented as means to curb extremism and incitement to violence, although opponents say the changes infringe religious freedom in the country and were made to satisfy US and Israeli demands. The lower house approved the previous version of the bill three weeks ago. Jordan's King Abdullah is expect to sign the bill later this year.

In August, the National Assembly approved legislation criminalizing a wide range of behavior as acts of terror [JURIST report], including financing, interacting with or recruiting for any terrorist group, and possessing, making, or transporting any material that can be used to produce chemical weapons. The law gives military courts sole jurisdiction over terrorism claims, and permits officials to conduct surveillance of terrorism suspects and bar suspects from leaving the country. The bill is Jordan's first attempt to address terrorism [JURIST report] since the deadly Amman hotel bomb [CTV report] that killed 57 people in 2005. AP has more.

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