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Jordan's King On Islam

In a speech entitled “Traditional Islam: The Path to Peace,” delivered at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., Jordan’s King Abdullah The Second promoted moderation as the means to reclaim Islam from the radicals. “The ultimate goal," King Abdullah said, "is to take back our religion from vocal, violent, and ignorant extremists who have tried to hijack Islam over the last hundred years. But moral leadership cannot be hijacked. Today, traditional, moderate, orthodox Muslims are reclaiming our Islam – Islam as it has been taught and practiced for over a thousand years – a religion of tolerance, wisdom and charity.”

In July, King Abdullah hosted an international conference of Islamic scholars who agreed that fatwas, or religious edicts, cannot be handed down by such people as al Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. The Amman Message issued from the conference outlined Islam’s social values of compassion, respect, and tolerance, and rejected Muslim isolation from the rest of the world.

King Abdullah urged people of all faiths to work against radical elements who want conflicts to occur. “Another critical effort is faith-based action,” he said. “History shows that at one time or another, all religions have faced extremists who abuse the power of faith.” King Abdullah also appealed for mutual respect among adherents of different religions. “The road of moderation, respect for others, is not one for Muslims alone,” he said. “That means more than just tolerating each other. It means real acceptance, based on human equality and fellowship.”

King Abdullah met with Pope Benedict The Sixteenth in Rome a day before his speech in Washington. He also met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in New York, and he is planning to meet with a group of American rabbis on a return visit to the United States.

Following the king’s speech, the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, praised the Jordanian monarch for his message of moderation and tolerance. “You said things that we have looked forward to hearing from major Muslim leaders in our world today,” Cardinal McCarrick said. “You have shown enormous leadership.”

And President George W. Bush, in his meeting with King Abdullah, thanked him for his vision of “a peaceful world, one in which people are able to practice their religion freely.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.