Jordan

A crossroads of ancient civilizations, Jordan has been under Arab/Islamic rule since the 7th century, with a 92% Sunni Muslim population and a small Christian minority.  After WWI, the League of Nations re-drew the map of the Middle East and assigned much of the area east of the Jordan river to the newly-founded Palestine, in what was then called Transjordan. The British governed the territory until 1946, when King Abdullah (a leader of the Arab revolt against the Ottomans) became the first ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. Shortly after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, King Abdullah was proclaimed ruler over Palestine and unified the two countries, though this union was only recognized by two countries, Britain and Pakistan, and would lead to a long-term debate over the annexation of the West Bank territory. In 1967, during the Six Day War, Israel captured the West Bank territory and east Jerusalem, which led to an increase in paramilitary activity around the area in the years following the war. In 1970, open fighting broke out between Palestinian militias (PLO) and Jordanian forces, leading to the expulsion of the militias and their leader, Yasser Arafat, from Jordan. By 1985, however, a proposal was put forward for a confederation between the Jordanian and Palestinian states, though, 3 years later, King Hussein dissolved the Parliament and renounced claims to the West Bank, leaving the PLO to assume responsibility for the territory. In 1994, Jordan signed a peace treaty, which was not violated during the second intifada in 2000. The heir to the throne, King Abdullah II, has worked hard to maintain peaceful relations with Israel and its Arab neighbors, though it was targeted in 2005 for 3 simultaneous terrorist bombings at hotels in its capital, Amman, for which Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility.

Jordanian rap is a relatively new phenomenon, with 2 groups emerging as the leaders of the pack, TAJ (The Arabian Journal) and Samm, both from Amman and both strongly influenced by the success of the breakout Palestinian group, DAM. In 2008, the group TAJ was invited to perform in Ramallah, while Samm was asked to join the newly-formed ‘962 Collective’, a union of emerging Jordanian rappers, and was featured on the pan-Arab Hip Hop talent show hosted by FredWreck, “Beit Il Hip Hop/House of Hip Hop”.

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