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Jordan’s interfaith drive hailed as instilled culture, institutionalised policy

By JT - Jun 08,2019 - Last updated at Jun 08,2019

His Majesty King Abdullah delivering a speech in Assisi, Italy, after receiving the 2019 Lamp of Peace award (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — Since the Accession to the Throne, His Majesty King Abdullah has institutionalised a policy of interfaith dialogue, earning the Kingdom an international reputation of tolerance, coexistence and moderation.

The King’s interfaith efforts culminated with the UN General Assembly’s declaration of the first week of February as “World Interfaith Harmony Week”. The event was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2010 by His Majesty and was unanimously adopted by the UN on October 20, 2010.

The World Interfaith Harmony Week builds on “A Common Word”, an initiative which declared the common ground between Islam and Christianity based on the two great commandments of “Love of God, and Love of the Neighbour”, which lie at the heart of the three monotheistic faiths.

Launched on October 13, 2007 as an open letter signed by 138 leading Muslim scholars and intellectuals, the document was authored by HRH Prince Ghazi who was commissioned to write it by His Majesty King Abdullah “to promote peace and understanding between Muslims and Christians all over the world”, in accordance with the vision of traditional orthodox Islam articulated in the Amman Message, issued in November 2004.

The letter, which included the signatures of the grand muftis of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, was addressed to the leaders of Christian churches and denominations all over the world, including Pope Benedict XVI.

Based on verses from the Holy Koran and the Holy Bible, “A Common Word” ( proposes that Islam and Christianity share, at their core, the twin “golden” commandments of paramount importance — of loving God and loving one’s neighbour. Based on this common ground, it calls for peace and harmony between Christians and Muslims worldwide.

The Amman Message was Jordan’s other major initiative in interfaith dialogue.

The Amman Message initially began as a statement released by His Majesty in November 2004 which sought to affirm what Islam is and what it is not, and what actions represent it and what actions do not. Its goal is to clarify to the modern world the true nature of Islam and the nature of true Islam.

His Majesty highlighted the 2004 Amman Message initiative, which is “intended to spread harmony and love among the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims. And it has been supported by recognised religious scholars throughout the Muslim world”.

In recognition of his efforts to promote religious harmony within Islam and between Islam and other religions, His Majesty was awarded the 2018 Templeton Prize.

In a speech at a ceremony in Washington, DC, in November last year, His Majesty underlined Jordan’s historic privilege as the land of prophets and its role in maintaining and defending their message of peace and goodness.

The King said that he accepted the award on behalf of all Jordanians, because all he is being honoured for “simply carries onward what Jordanians have always done”, and that is to live in mutual kindness, harmony and brotherhood.

In remarks during the prize ceremony, UN Secretary General António Guterres said that King Abdullah’s promotion of peace within Islam, and between Muslims and people of other beliefs, has contributed to global peace and progress in many ways, highlighting the Amman Message of 2004 as one of His Majesty’s contributions to this goal.

President of the John Templeton Foundation Heather Templeton Dill said that King Abdullah is a person “shaped by temporal and political responsibilities, yet one who holds the conviction that religious belief and the free exercise of religion are among humankind’s most important callings”.

The president said the founder of the Templeton Foundation, Sir John Templeton, created the prize because he believed that religion is important and under-appreciated in the affairs of humankind and he wanted to honour those who were making significant contributions to human flourishing that spring from deeply-held religious convictions.

For his efforts to promote human rights, harmony, interfaith dialogue and peace in the Middle East and the world, His Majesty received the 2019 Lamp of Peace award in March.

Speaking at a ceremony attended by Her Majesty Queen Rania in Assisi, Italy, after receiving the 2019 Lamp of Peace award, King Abdullah noted Jordan’s duty in line with the Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites, a Royal Court statement said.

“As Hashemite Custodian of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites, we are bound by a special, personal duty to the security and future of the Holy City,” His Majesty noted.

“Ties of love and concern bind the Holy City to billions of Muslims and Christians around the world, and Jerusalem should be and must be a unifying city of peace,” the King said.


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