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King Abdullah II: Christians and Muslims Become Allies Against Sectarianism

D. Myles Cullen

King Abdullah II of Jordan stresses the need for an alliance between Christians and Muslims to defeat sectarian rifts in the region.

The protection of the rights of Christians in religiously motivated conflicts afflicting the Middle East "is not a matter of courtesy, but a duty," partly because "Arab Christians have had a key role in building the Arab society and in the defense of our nation."

This is what King Abdullah II of Jordan said to the participants at the Conference being held in Amman (The Challenges of Arab Christians, 3-4 September) on the challenges Arab Christians will face. The Hashemite Monarch, speaking to more than seventy high-ranking representatives of Churches and ecclesial communities rooted in the Middle East, in his speech stressed the need for an alliance between Christians and Muslims to face and defeat together sectarian rifts that fuel conflicts throughout the region, presented as a foreign body compared to "our traditions and cultural and humanitarian heritage."

Christians and Muslims – King Abdullah said in his speech – should "coordinate efforts and full cooperation" by agreeing on a "unifying code of conduct" because isolation between the followers of different religions can "undermine social building."

In this perspective, the head of the Hashemite Monarchy reiterated his commitment to working "with effort" to the custody of the Arab Christian identity. "Arab Christians," recognized King Abdullah, "are able to understand more than anyone else Islam and its true values" and therefore can defend Islam from the prejudices spread by those who "ignore the essence of this faith, which preaches tolerance and moderation and rejects extremism and isolationism."

Among the possible grounds of collaboration between Christians and Muslims, King Abdullah also revived the common defense of plural physiognomy of the Holy City: "We all," said the Monarch of Jordan, "have the duty to defend the Arab identity of Jerusalem, and protect its Islamic and Christian Holy Places."

Originally published by Agenzia Fides on 4 September 2013.

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