Jordan's king urges unity against religious extremists

Jordan’s King Abdullah II today urged interfaith co-operation to confront those trying to bring about a “clash of civilisations” among Muslims, Jews and Christians.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II today urged interfaith co-operation to confront those trying to bring about a “clash of civilisations” among Muslims, Jews and Christians.

King Abdullah said responsible leaders of all religions have denounced hatred and violence, “but there are those who think otherwise; who believe that there is, or will be, a clash of civilisations.

“Indeed, opinion polls tell us that this idea, at some level, is held by far too many people in both Western and Muslim countries. What is worse, there are those who want conflict to occur and are actively working to that end.”

The King, speaking at the Catholic University of America in Washington, said: “For all our sakes, for our common future, we must turn the world’s footsteps away from such a path.”

“History shows that at one time or another, all religions have faced extremists who abuse the power of faith,” he said.

“But moral leadership cannot be hijacked. Today, traditional, moderate, orthodox Muslims are reclaiming our Islam, Islam as it has been taught and practised for over a thousand years: a religion of tolerance, wisdom, and charity.”

The 43-year-old was a major general and headed the Special Operations Command when his father, King Hussein, died in 1999. He was educated in Britain and the United States.

The king and his wife, Queen Rania, came to Washington from a visit with Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo, Italy, where Abdullah made a similar appeal for Western dialogue with Muslims.

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