Jordanian king calls for understanding

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, in the Netherlands on a three-day state visit, has urged both Muslims and non-Muslims to try to understand each other better. In a speech at Amsterdam’s town hall, the king – a direct descendant of the prophet Mohammed – said it was ‘a critical time for the great civilisations of Europe and the Middle East’.

More than ever, prosperity, security and progress depended on cooperation between nations, he went on to say. He called on Muslims living in the west to do more to integrate themselves into society.
Islam, he said, did not ‘instruct Muslims to isolate themselves from the progress of human development. Islam calls on people to be active participants in public life… to strive for good. Not for ourselves alone, but for all: Muslim and non-Muslim alike’. This, he said, was ‘the essence of good citizenship, anywhere in the world’.
Experts said the speech, entitled ‘A message of peace and understanding among peoples’, was the most important of the five speeches being given by the king during his visit.
Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen said he hoped Muslims would hear the king’s message. There are many different types of Islam, Cohen said. ‘I hope they can listen to this side of Islam as well.’
Earlier, King Abdullah and Queen Rania laid a wreath at the national monument on the Dam. Tomorrow, the final day of the visit, they will tour Flevoland.

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