In a seminar titled “Message of Tolerance and Harmony”, organized by the School of Sharia at the University of Jordan (UJ), on Wednesday, December 19, scholars discussed the naming of His Majesty King Abdullah II as the 2018 Templeton Prize Laureate.
The scholars confirmed that the Templeton Prize constitutes a bright and distinctive milestone in the history of His Majesty’s march to achieve interfaith harmony, defend the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem and protect religious freedoms.
They pointed out that King Abdullah has worked vigorously to consolidate this moderate approach and has a leading role in spreading the values of tolerance and harmony, regionally and globally.
UJ President Prof. Abdull Karim Al-Qudah said in his opening remarks that the Prize is a noble expression of His Majesty's tremendous efforts, initiatives, guidance and interest to promote inter- and intra-faith harmony.
He emphasized that due to the wise leadership and vision of His Majesty, Jordan now stands out as a notable example in peaceful and harmonious coexistence.
The President added that the message of tolerance and harmony is a key message that UJ aims to promote and convey to its students.
"The culture of tolerance, coexistence and acceptance of the other is principal and vital, especially under the current circumstances," Al-Qudah said.
"Such culture contributes to solidifying national unity, which ought to be built on the strong basis of trust and belonging," he added.
In his speech, the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom, Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalayleh, referred to initiatives launched and supported by His Majesty to promote inter- and intra-faith harmony, including the Amman Message, “A Common Word” letter, and the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week initiative.
Al-Khalayleh explained the contents of the Amman Message (2004), which was adopted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as an approach to highlight the true and honorable message of Islam.
He added during the seminar, which was moderated by the former Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Dr. Hayel Dawud, that the Amman message came to affirm Islam's absolute disapproval of terrorism and religious extremism.
In turn, the former Church Appeal Judge, Father Mohammed George Shraiha spoke about His Majesty's attention to the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jordan and Palestine.
"His Majesty has laid a solid foundation for justice and equality between all citizens, Christians and Muslims" he said.
Sharaiha pointed to His Majesty's quest to consolidate the values of human rights, women's rights, freedom of religions and world peace as a common ground that allows people to live together decently.
He pointed out that Islam has been a pioneer in specifying human rights, safeguarding human dignity, before the issuance of international conventions on human rights.
Secretary General of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Engineer Abdullah Abadi, addressed the Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem holy sites.
Abbadi displayed recent photos of the reconstruction of Islamic and Christian holy sites, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Dome of the Rock, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and other churches across Jerusalem.
Established 1972 by the late Sir John Templeton, the Prize honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.