Casino “a sin” says Muslim Group
By Paul
Jordan's most influential Muslim opposition group hit out at the government Monday for seeking legal advice on licensing a casino, saying it was committing a 'sin' that would provoke God's wrath.

A ranking body comprised of legal experts and judges ruled Sunday that setting up a casino in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba did not violate Jordanian law.

The Higher Law Interpretation Council also gave the Cabinet the authority to license casinos in Aqaba, provided only foreigners would be allowed entry.

The Islamic Action Front urged the government to 'stop committing this sin, which would bring God's curse and misfortunes on the country.'

'Jordan is a Muslim country ... and licensing casinos contradicts (our) belief, the constitution and the interests of the country,' according to the front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement.

The group said that sanctioning casinos 'gives the impression that this country is setting itself free from legitimate restrictions, like other secular countries which have abandoned religion.'

The issue of casino licensing, as in Egypt and Lebanon, has been on the agenda of Jordan’s secular and pro -western leadership for decades. But Muslim hard-line groups such as the Islamic Action Front have always won the battle to stop casinos.

Government officials said last year there had been requests by two non-Jordanian businessmen to set up casinos in Aqaba, 350 kilometers (210 miles) south of the Jordanian capital Amman. Such reports fueled worries among conservatives that Aqaba's proximity to its Red Sea peers in Israel and Saudi Arabia would make the resort city a gambling playground for Israelis and Gulf Arabs.

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