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‘Defending global social cohesion’

Jun 20,2019 - Last updated at Jun 20,2019

The invitation extended to His Majesty King Abdullah by Singaporean President Halimah Yacob to make the keynote address to the International Conference on Cohesive Societies did not come from a vacuum. Jordan's credentials at various levels to combat the widening divides within societies around the world is borne out of a series of efforts and processes.

The theme of the conference, "Many Communities, One Shared Future", is a fitting title, as it says a lot about the conference that aims to forge interfaith understanding among diverse countries and societies and deliver new ideas to bolster greater harmony in societies.

In his speech, King Abdullah called for a new "dynamism" in the effort to tackle the world's single most important threat: "The attack on interfaith harmony, mutual respect and trust." The King called for resistance to this growing threat that is based on "hatred and exclusion", not only by pious words and expressions of goodwill, but also by deeds and actions.

Whether the world is talking about “economic growth, peacemaking, protecting the environment, global security [or] inclusive opportunity,” the King said there is a pressing need for a collective cooperation and coordinated action, especially by like-minded nations of the world.

The King referred to the recent attacks on places of worship in Christchurch and Sri Lanka, where scores of innocent worshippers were killed for no reason other being members of another faith. Yet despite this outward hatred, the King continued to say, all religions share one basic article of faith in compassion and brotherhood. "The Compassionate", the King told his audience, is among the noble names of God in Islam.

Yet the outlaws of Islam, the khawarij, and extremist Islamophobes managed to distort the inner message of Islam and Christianity by preaching and practising hatred and exclusion. So, the world must resist the outlaws of religions and not stop at preaching to them about their infidelity to their true faith.

That is why, the King said, Jordan has developed and adopted two complementary initiatives: One in the form of the "Amman Message" and "A Common World", both of which preach and advocate compassion, tolerance and love towards one another. And the other articulated in the 2015 Aqaba Process, with a new paradigm for international cooperation against terrorism by deeds and counter-security actions.

The King also cited the unresolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict and threats against the Islamic and Christian holy places, over which the Hashemites enjoy undisputed custodianship, as principle causes of tension in the region that if left unsettled would contribute to further exacerbation of religious, political and cultural tensions.

The conflicts in the world, including in the Middle East, await a just resolution in order to create the favourable environment for addressing the wider issues on interfaith dialogue and cooperation. Hopefully the world was listening, otherwise the cycle of interfaith conflicts will endure indefinitely.

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