King Abdullah II’s international trend towards religions

King Abdullah II’s international trend towards religions

By Fr. Rif'at Bader

When viewing the past two decades at the religious level, which almost coincide with the assumption of His Majesty King Abdullah II his constitutional powers, we will find out that there are two trends. The first one is the trend of extremism, bigotry, labeling others as infidels, the violence based sometimes on religious perspectives, and the major scourge represented in terrorism--particularly with reference to what took place in the United States in September 2001 where analysts concur that it was a decisive moment with the world drifting into a venture against terrorism-- as well as what was disseminated with regards to dividing the world into merely two major parts, namely the bad and the worse.

We can hardly imagine the large number of victims who were killed, wounded, and forced to flee their countries. There are victims on both sides. On the side of terrorists: They mercilessly dealt blows without discrimination to children, the elderly men and women, civilians and military personnel. The other side includes the victims of the terrorist warring side that resulted in wars, tragedies and forcible displacement of civilians.

This is the first trend that made the world don a black veil and turned this era into an era of abhorrent terrorism. On the other hand, the good and the moderate formed an international humanitarian alliance in the face of the takfiri trend as well as the trend of excluding others. They made significant contributions in elucidating the true image of religion as well as the rapprochement between followers of religions, especially between Christians and Muslims worldwide.

Among the most outstanding figures is Pope John Paul II, who firmly introduced the world in the third millennium into the concept of uniform humanity. He left the world in 2005 leaving a legacy of good human relations and resounding speeches. We also proudly and joyfully refer to the historic role played by His Majesty King Abdullah II in promoting the peaceful and moderate "trend" as well as his repeated calls for attaining two goals, namely by clarifying the true image of Islam through international messages emerging from Jordan the most important of which are the “Amman Message” ( 2004), “A Common Word between Us and You” (2007), the “Interfaith Harmony Week” (2010), His Majesty’s defence of the Christian Arab presence by patronizing the Christian Arab Conference in Amman (2002), the Conference on “The Challenges Facing Arab Christians”(2013) and the historic message His Majesty the King sent to Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI during the convening of the 2010 Synod in the Middle East. It is worthy to note as well His Majesty the King’s welcoming of three popes as well as of several heads of religions and churches in the world. Furthermore, what hinges on the mind is welcoming the groups of Christians from Mosul who were forcibly displaced because of their faith and as a result of the violence practised by ISIS groups. What also hinges in mind is the Hashemite custodianship of the holy sites in noble Jerusalem, as well as His Majesty’s dedication to religious tourism and developing touristic sites in a country that bear the name of the eternal river, namely the River of Baptism.

From this premise, it is evident that the entire world seeks to enhance the trend of moderation led by King Abdullah II Ben Al-Hussein, who received John Paul II Award in 2005, as well as other numerous awards which are attributed to his interest, perseverance and influential role in the field of interfaith harmony. We have been greatly proud to have learned this week that His Majesty King Abdullah was granted the 2018 Templeton Prize Laureate “in recognition of his exceptional efforts to promote religious harmony, not only within Islam, but also between Islam and the other monotheistic religions.”

Best wishes to His Majesty the King, to the trend of moderation that he leads in the world, and to this new achievement. Best wishes to our pioneering Kingdom.

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