Jordan's Queen Rania joins march for murdered pilot

Jordan's Queen Rania (centre) holds a picture of recently executed Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, with the words in Arabic reading "Maaz is a martyr of right", during a march after Friday prayers in downtown Amman Feb 6, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Jordan's Queen Rania (centre) holds a picture of recently executed Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, with the words in Arabic reading "Maaz is a martyr of right", during a march after Friday prayers in downtown Amman Feb 6, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

AMMAN (AFP) - Queen Rania joined thousands of people who turned out after midday prayers in Jordan's capital Friday to express their solidarity with the pilot murdered by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.

Wearing a black suit and with a red-and-white keffiyeh - strongly associated with Jordanian tribes - draped over her shoulders, Rania mixed with the crowd as it marched from the central Al-Husseini mosque to Palm Park, about a kilometre away.

She held aloft a picture showing the murdered airman and bearing the words "Maaz the martyr of righteousness".

"Today, I'm just like any other Jordanian. We are united in our horror and our grief," the 44-year-old Kuwait-born Palestinian Rania told the BBC.

The wife of King Abdullah II blasted ISIS for its brutal killing of Maaz al-Kassasbeh who was burned alive by the extremists after they captured him in late December.

"Through their heinous acts they're hoping to frighten Jordanians, but all they did is to make us angry and united and very determined to rid this world of this evil," she told the British broadcaster.

All around her marchers chanted "We are all Maaz" and "We are all Jordan".

Placards were also held aloft that read: "Yes to punishment. Yes to the eradication of terrorism."

Rania told the BBC that the battle against ISIS "is absolutely Jordan's war", but she said "to win it we need help from the international community".

On Thursday, the royal couple visited Kassasbeh's family - which has urged the government to "destroy" the militants - to pay their condolences.

Kassasbeh was captured by ISIS in December after his F-16 crashed in Syria while on a mission for the US-led coalition against the Sunni extremist group.

His death has sparked grief and deep anger across Jordan.

In November, Rania urged support for US-led air strikes against ISIS, saying the future of the Middle East and Islam were at stake.

"Our silence is the greatest gift" for ISIS, which has seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria, she told a media summit in Abu Dhabi.

"We are complicit in their success."

She said the fight went beyond the battleground and was between moderates and extremists worldwide.

"Winning also depends on our ability to conquer the philosophical battleground as well. Because at the heart of this assault is an ideology," she said.

On Friday, the mother of four told the BBC that ISIS does not represent Islam and "we have to reclaim our religion from these people".

Last year, ISIS seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq and declared a "caliphate" in areas under its control, imposing its brutal interpretation of Islam and committing widespread atrocities.