Fifteen years since the launching of 'Amman Message'

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Fifteen years since the launching of 'Amman Message'

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader

On November 9, 2004 and in the presence of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ben Al-Hussein, Jordan launched a universal message called the Amman Message. It is a historic document designed to react to the false accusations that followed September 11, 2001 events as well as the subsequent bitter and advanced stages of terrorism that aimed at laying the groundwork for systematic and collective violence, at provoking systematic and collective hatred, as well as giving rise to revenge, and schism, in addition to spreading terror among children and their families. The Amman Message was consequently issued to spread a spirit of tranquility and calm among the fearful and the horrified on the one hand, and to indicate that terrorism has no religion on the other. It was also intended to state that the Islamic religion is totally free from what Ben Laden, his sons, and grandchildren had disseminated later. As we commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Amman Message, I am honored to outline the following five points:

First, the Amman message was preceded by an international conference called for by Christian Arabs in Jordan and Palestine on March 11, 2002. During the conference, held under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II, they proclaimed that they stand united with their Muslim brethren in defending the nation and refuting the false accusations leveled against the partner religion of Arab Christianity.

Second, the Amman Message was introduced into school curriculums and it is posted on all official websites. Several relevant conferences and seminars were held and it was translated into several major languages. There is no doubt that it reached far-reaching regions in the world and became well-known everywhere. Yet, it is appalling to note that terrorism is not over, and the rationale for launching the decade-and-a-half ago Amman Message still prevails. We must jointly think about how to spread it and implement its contents in order to contribute, in association with all the efforts exerted by the international community, to blocking and eliminating terrorism.

Third: During this period, several religious figures visited Jordan, most notably was Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 and Pope Francis in 2014 with both of them praising the Amman Message. Pope Benedict said: "The Amman Message represents the basis of the Kingdom's policy which calls for dialogue, for resorting to Peace, for preservation of the holy sites, and for caring for the human beings regardless of their race and religion." Pope Francis said: "I reiterate my appreciation for Jordan's initiatives to promote brotherhood, Islamic values, dialogue, and understanding among followers of religious, including the Amman Message which calls for dialogue."

Fourth: The Amman Message was followed by sublime Jordanian initiatives, namely the "Common Word Between Us and You", which led to the establishment the Catholic-Islamic Forum in 2007, and the World Interfaith Harmony Week in 2010 which was endorsed by the United Nations upon a Jordanian request, as well the establishment of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan in 2012.

Fifth: We look to the future with optimism and look to the past praising God for all the propitious and noble efforts that have been issued in Jordan. Several countries have competed with Jordan with regards to launching universal dialogue centers, yet Jordan is still at the top of the list of distinguished countries in the field of interfaith dialogue. The Templeton Prize which His Majesty King Abdullah received in 2018 is a testament of the unstinting affords exerted to fulfill the mission of Amman Message, which is not only confined to the message, but also to cordiality, faith, and brotherhood.

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