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Templeton prize for the King: What does it mean?

Nov 06,2018 - Last updated at Nov 06,2018

The efforts of His Majesty King Abdullah in promoting a universal culture of tolerance and coexistence among various faiths are internationally acknowledged. For this reason, he has been named as the 2018 Templeton Prize Laureate for his work promoting religious harmony within Islam and between Islam and other faiths.

From the get go, the King demonstrated a profound appreciation of the need for working diligently to promote moderation, an effort that has been directed to pull the rug out from under radicals who have been using their own flawed religious interpretation to justify terrorism. His initiatives in this domain are countless. But suffice it here to refer to the 2004 Amman Message, which crowned His Majesty’s efforts to highlight the true face of Islam. 

In 2015, the King gave his efforts to counter radicalism an international twist. He sponsored the Aqaba meetings with the aim of nurturing all kinds of security and military cooperation and coordination to counter the twin challenges of terrorism and radicalism. In fact, the Aqaba process is a holistic approach to address the most pressing challenge related to radicalism. Far from being regional, the Aqaba process is meant to provide an all-inclusive framework to coordinate global anti-terrorism efforts.

Just a few days ago, the King participated in an international meeting held in the Netherlands under the framework of the Aqaba meetings. Senior officials and ministers from NATO, the US, Canada and the EU also participated in the meeting. Their participation is also a recognition of the role played by the Aqaba process in creating a culture of working together against terrorism and radicalism.

Heather Templeton Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation said that “King Abdullah offers the world the true definition of a spiritual entrepreneur, a person shaped by temporal and political responsibilities, yet who holds both the belief and free expression of religion as among humankind’s most important callings”.

For us in Jordan, winning the prize is very important. It offers an opportunity to present Jordan’s positive and constructive contribution to regional and international stability. Needless to say, Jordan, under the leadership of King Abdullah, has been a key anchor for stability in the region. That being said, the King seeks to address not only the military or security aspect of stability but the root causes. His understanding of the power of discourse is documented. 

Unlike many other politicians who take the theory of “clash of civilisations” at face value, the King’s effort in promoting understanding among various faiths is his anti-thesis of clash of civilisations. Evidently, no one else in this part of the world has worked as hard as the King to reinforce the values of coexistence. His custodianship of the holy Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem is the epitome of his genuine belief in values common in all monotheistic faiths. The King will be given the prize next Tuesday in a big ceremony to be held in Washington, DC. I am sure that the King will take the acknowledgement of his methodological efforts as an incentive to keep on fixing the problems of intolerance and extremism.

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