The Muslim Arab king in the Cathedral

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The Muslim Arab king in the Cathedral

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader

The Washington National Cathedral was given this name because it is located in the US capital. Its concern transcends the traditional mission of the church, namely by serving the homeland or the American "nation". It was built in 1907.The cathedral, affiliated with the Episcopal Church, is regarded the sixth largest cathedral in the world and the second largest in the USA. Days ago, the church hosted the ceremony of awarding the 2018 Templeton Prize to His Majesty King Abdullah II Ben Al Hussein.

The awarding of the prize at this time in particular conveys several messages some of which are directed towards our society and our social fabric, while others are directed towards the countries suffering from sectarian conflicts as well as the entire humanity.

The message, conveyed at the national level, indicates that we have a long-term heritage in Jordan which His Majesty the King has unveiled by receiving the award. It indicates that Jordanians are not merely those who issued the Amman Message in 2004; they are the initiators of the message of acceptance of others, partnership and non-discrimination among citizens. According to the Jordanian Constitution, the full equality among Jordanians is applied and maintained on a daily basis.

The message is also an indication of the warm reception that has become a distinctive feature of Jordan by building up on the past years during which Jordan opened its arms wide and welcomed people of different backgrounds and origins. Those coming to Jordan might have come as pilgrims, tourists, expatriate workers or refugees. What Jordan has been doing all the time is being the country of welcoming others as well as respecting people's feelings and rituals.

The message is also addressed to the countries suffering from sectarian crises. Several regions of the world have witnessed a clear and painful sprouting of extremist movements and groups that have adopted sectarianism, fanaticism, seclusion and exclusionism. This snowballed into civil wars and resulted in distortion of faiths, as well as misuse of the name of religion in violence and terrorism. The Templeton Prize given to the King, to his people and to the homeland, is a message to the states suffering from infighting that religion promotes peace and harmony and that it has never been a factor of dispute.

The message expressed at the global level is an encouragement to the message of moderation and the intensification of plans undertaken by private and public institutions concerned with interfaith dialogue, education, enhancement of harmony, and opening the doors of creativity at large in these fields in order to create an educated, generation that is open to others with respect. The awarding of the dialogue prize to the Arab Muslim King at the Washington National Cathedral in the USA is an eloquent message that calls for following the trend of openness, dialogue and cooperation which brings goodness to humanity, while the trend of seclusion leads always to closed roads with high walls.

How impressive the child Iman Bisha, the symbol of the generations of openness and a bright future, was when she sang at the Templeton ceremony in Italian: Let us dream of a world free of violence, the world of justice and hope, where everyone extends a hand to neighbors, a symbol of peace, brotherhood and the power that God gives us.

abouna.org@gmail.com

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