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Population: Sunni Muslim 92%, Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox), other 2% (several small Shia Muslim and Druze populations)

Islam and the state: The Jordanian royal family, the Hashemites, have ruled the country since independence in 1946, with their legitimacy based on their status as direct descendants of the Prophet Mohammad. Jordan is a conservative, largely tribal society. King Abdullah is trying to modernise the government and society but ancient customs such as honour killings persist.

Militant Islam: Hamas had a strong presence in Jordan until the late 1990s, causing great friction with Israel. King Abdullah has closed down Hamas' headquarters in Jordan and expelled its leaders. In late 2002, a US diplomat was killed by Islamic militants.


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