Jordan’s King Abdullah proposes to UN steps to combat extremism
King Abdullah of Jordan addresses the United Nations General Assembly on September 28, 2015 in New York City. World leaders gathered for the 70th session of the annual meeting. (AFP/John Moore)
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His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday proposed seven steps to promote values of tolerance and coexistence in the face of extremism.
Meanwhile, he said nothing can be more important and can have more impact in regarding coexistence than Jerusalem.
In an address at the UN General Assembly’s 70th session, the King said these efforts must be implemented universally on all fronts, warning that hopes for a compassionate and peaceful world are threatened by “khawarej”, the outlaws of Islam that now “operate globally”.
“I’ve called this crisis a third world war and I believe we must respond with equal intensity,” he noted.
“But make no mistake; the more important war is the one we wage on the battlegrounds of the heart, soul and mind. And in this fight, all countries, all people, must come together.”
Highlighting Jordan-led initiatives such as the Amman Message, A Common Word and the UN Global Interfaith Harmony Week, the King said these efforts must continue, with the United Nations playing a central role.
“First, let’s get back to basics, to the essence and shared spirit of our respective faiths and creeds,” His Majesty noted.
“What separates humanity is miniscule compared to what we hold in common: deep values of love, peace, justice and compassion,” he added.
The second step, His Majesty continued, is to “change our tone”.
He stressed the need to put a stop to the spread of hate speech and fear mongering, wondering: “When and how did fear and intimidation creep so insidiously into our conversations, when there is so much more to be said about the love of God?”
As a third step, the King called for acting “upon our beliefs” beyond the main rituals of worship such as praying or fasting.
He stressed the need to integrate “our values” into every part of daily life.
“By loving our neighbour, showing respect to those different from us, being kind to our own children, each one of us can do something to reflect the spirit of our creator.”
The next step, according to the King, is to amplify the voice of moderation by utilising modern communication tools such as social media and counter their monopolisation by extremists.
“We too must populate our media, and more important, the minds of our young people, with the purity and power of moderation.”
The fifth step is to recognise deceit, His Majesty noted, stressing that the khawarej merely use religion “as a mask” to satisfy their hunger for power and control.
“In the global Muslim community 1.7 billion good men and women, one quarter of humanity — today’s outlaw gangs are nothing but a drop in the ocean. But a drop of venom can poison a well. We must protect the purity of our faith from worldly contamination. As Muslims, this is our fight, and our duty.”
For the sixth step, the King called for not tolerating intolerance, noting that “moderation does not mean accepting those who trample on others and reject all who differ.”
“Today’s global fight is not between peoples, communities or religions. It is between all moderates, of all faiths, against all extremists, in all religions. Leaders of every country, every belief, every neighbourhood, need to take a clear and public stand against intolerance of any kind,” His Majesty added.
He said this entails respecting all places where God is worshipped.
“Nothing can be more important and can have more impact in framing this respect and coexistence than Jerusalem. The Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites is a sacred duty, and we join Muslims and Christians everywhere in rejecting threats to the holy places and the Arab character of this holy city.”
The last step, the King added, is “hyper-connectivity”.
“Only a few years ago we had the Internet of Computers; now we talk about the Internet of Things. But above them all must be the Internet of Humanity – a hyper-connection, bringing us together in collective consciousness and common cause,” he said.
“This great General Assembly must address urgent world issues: sustainable, inclusive development that can deliver more opportunity, especially to young people and peaceful political solutions to regional crises,” His Majesty said, calling for joint international action to find solutions and provide relief for “millions of refugees in my region”.
He highlighted the Syrian refugee burden Jordan is shouldering, with Syrians now constituting 20 per cent of the population.
“It is high time that the international community acts collectively in facing this unprecedented humanitarian crisis, and support countries like Jordan and Lebanon which have been carrying the brunt of this burden over the past four years,” the King said.
“The values we share — equality, compassion and hope — need to be connected to everything we do. And we must keep ourselves connected to each other, for the good of all … Here, together, we can and must create the future our people need: a safer, stronger world of coexistence, inclusion, shared prosperity and peace.”
On Jerusalem, the King said: “Nothing can be more important and can have more impact in framing this respect and coexistence than Jerusalem. The Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites is a sacred duty, and we join Muslims and Christians everywhere in rejecting threats to the holy places and the Arab character of this holy city.”
By Rand Dalgamouni
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