King of Jordan receives Lamp of Peace award in Italy
King Abdullah noted custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites
King Abdullah of Jordan has received the 2019 Lamp of Peace award for his efforts to promote human rights, harmony, interfaith dialogue, and peace in the Middle East and the world.
Speaking at a ceremony attended by Queen Rania Al Abdullah in Assisi, Italy, the King noted Jordan’s duty in line with the Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites, before acknowledging the global importance of the city.
“As Hashemite Custodian of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites, we are bound by a special, personal duty to the security and future of the holy city,” King Abdullah said.
“Ties of love and concern bind the holy city to billions of Muslims and Christians around the world, and Jerusalem should be and must be a unifying city of peace,” the King added.
In his speech, delivered at the Sacred Convent of St Francis of Assisi, King Abdullah also paid tribute to families and victims of the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 15 March.
“Such evil, wherever it happens, is our suffering, too,” he said, asking the attendees— that included German chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte, Italian episcopal conference president Gualtiero Bassetti, and president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani—to observe a moment of silence for the victims of the New Zealand attack and all victims of hatred.
The Lamp of Peace award recognises global figures for their work towards promoting peace. Since its launch in 1981, the Lamp of Peace has been awarded to a number of political and religious leaders, including Mrs Merkel in 2018, former Polish president Lech Wałęsa, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, former Colombian president and Noble Prize Laureate Juan Manuel Santos, Pope Francis, Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, and Mother Teresa.
King Abdullah said that the principles of interfaith harmony were “deeply embedded” in Jordan’s heritage.
“And indeed, Christians have been part of Middle East societies for thousands of years and are vital to the future of our region,” he added.
King Abdullah spoke about the need to confront terror and hatred on all fronts within a holistic approach, and in seeking effective solutions to global and regional crises.
He also reaffirmed Jordan’s ongoing efforts for a lasting resolution of the region’s core conflict, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, based on the two-state solution.
The King finished his speech with a call for peace and harmony. “Today, all over the world, millions of Muslims are coming together to perform Friday prayers, as those pious Muslims did who came to their mosques in New Zealand two Fridays ago. And today, as every day—five times a day—our prayers are calling for peace,” the King said.
“So I ask you to listen to that call. I ask you to help be the lights of peace who create the understanding and hope that our world desperately needs.”
Updated: March 29, 2019 07:30 PM