A decade of Jordanian-launched Week of Harmony

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A decade of Jordanian-launched Week of Harmony

By Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader

A few days ago, His Majesty King Abdullah II Ben Al-Hussein paid his first visit to Armenia. In his conversation with the Armenian President, he said, “Jordanians of Armenian descent have constituted over the past century an exemplary story, proving that friendship—indeed brotherhood—triumphs.” He also lauded friendship with the Armenian brethren, their affiliation and sincerity.

I would rather say that Jordan is one family with several citizens of different ethnicities and nationalities, but they are united by patriotism, belonging and loyalty. There are also different religions, and within each religion there are several "denominations", but the fact that everyone rallies behind one wise leadership is what we are proud of in our beloved Jordan. The King’s praise of the Armenian brethren is a tribute to the sublime plurality in this homeland, which is associated with loyalty to the Hashemite throne and to belonging to every grain on earth in this country.

Over a hundred years of this beloved country, Jordan launched a number of sublime initiatives that were adopted by the entire world. The fact that His Majesty the King received the Templeton Prize and the Lamp of Peace Award in a period of six months last year, marks the esteemed Jordanian efforts and the exalted royal endeavors in upholding the universal human message of religion, and the communication among the followers of religions, or rather the harmony that Jordan launched and became a general term for the peoples of the whole world.

Ten years ago, specifically in September 2010, His Majesty the King addressed the United Nations and called for the adoption of a World Interfaith Harmony Week. This is what actually took place, as all the 75-year-old United Nations member countries endorsed this initiative.

Prior to the adoption of the “World Interfaith Harmony Week”, “A Common Word between Us and You” initiative was launched between the Islamic world and the Catholic Church in 2007. The Islamic world was represented His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad Ben Ghazi, chief advisor to His Majesty the King for religious and cultural affairs. In 2004, Jordan published the renowned "Amman Message", and its 15th anniversary was marked last year.

In March 2002, His Majesty the King patronized a "Together in Defence of the Nation" conference which was a Christian Arab conference designed to address the charges leveled against the Islamic religion after the escalation of accusations in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. In 2013, His Majesty patronized an international conference, which made headlines by international press and agencies, namely the "Conference on the Challenges Facing Arab Christians”.

In 2014, His Majesty the King welcomed for the third time a pontiff, namely His Holiness the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. In 2009, he welcomed at Amman Airport His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. In 2000, a year after His Majesty assumed his authority, he welcomed His Holiness Pope John Paul II, who was later canonized.

In summer 2014, Jordan welcomed Christian brethren from Mosul who were forcibly displaced in light of the persecution practised against them by the terrorist group, ISIS, which veiled its activities with religion and acted in the name of religion at a time when religion has nothing to do with it. Consequently, Jordan welcomed the Christian Iraqi brethren from Mosul and all the towns in the Nineveh Plain.

Today, we mark the 10th anniversary of the “World Interfaith Harmony Week”, which is a manifestation of the propitious and noble efforts led by His Majesty the King, the Hashemite family, and the Jordanian government. The procession continues with the awareness of the Jordanian people, with its religious ad educational institutions, and with the positive tribal stands while stressing that religion serves as a factor for harmony rather than dispute.

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