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Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned Israel that it’s continued policies of violence against Palestinian civilians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and in the Israeli embargoed Gaza Strip will fuel a “Sea of Hatred” during a speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 20, 2016.
By Ray Hanania
Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned Israel that it’s continued policies of violence against Palestinian civilians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and in the Israeli embargoed Gaza Strip will fuel a “Sea of Hate” during a speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 20, 2016.
Click here to view and read Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 22, 2016.
ABDULLAH II IBN AL HUSSEIN, King of Jordan, recalled that his country’s national parliamentary elections were presently taking place, adding that they represented yet another step in Jordan’s positive, evolutionary path. As the world gathered together at the General Assembly, a network of extremist terrorists was working to stack the odds against the core values that bound the worlds’ common humanity. The question confronting the international community was what its legacy would be, and whether it would pass on to its children a world dominated by dread and division. After several years facing the global war on terror, he was struck by the lack of understanding of the true nature of Islam found among many Western officials, think tanks, media leaders and policymakers. “False perceptions of Islam and of Muslims will fuel the terrorists’ agenda of a global struggle by polarizing and factionalizing societies, East and West” and driving themselves deeper into mistrust and intolerance, he stated.
In that regard, when the outlaws of Islam — the “khawarej” — murdered, plundered, exploited children and rejected the equality of women before God, they abused Islam, he said. Islam taught that all humanity was equal in dignity and that there was no distinction between different nations, regions or races. The khawarej deliberately hid such truths in order to drive Muslims and non-Muslims apart. “We cannot allow this to happen,” he warned. The radical outlaw groups did not exist on the fringes of Islam, but outside it altogether. A new mind set, new partnerships and reformed methodologies would be needed to confront such a non-traditional enemy. For Muslims it was, first and foremost, a fight for their future.
The international community also faced a fight for its future, he continued. The war would not be fought on the battlefield alone, but everywhere humans lived and interacted. Security cooperation was imperative, but equally important was a holistic approach. New channels between continents and nations, within countries and among people needed to be opened. That meant reforming the way people communicated, shared information and used technologies. “Ours is a global fight,” he said, emphasizing that the focus must not stop with the Middle East, but reach far beyond, in West and East Africa, South-East Asia and the Balkans. In Syria, a military approach would leave no winners, only losers on every side, along with further civilian suffering. An end to violence demanded a political process shepherded by a unified global vision and led by all components of the Syrian people.
As those goals were pursued, he said, the international community must also take responsibility for those whose lives had been crushed — millions of refugees, victims and impoverished. The scourge of terror and violence could not be decisively defeated without rooting out the injustices that provided its fertile ground, from the prisons of Abu Ghraib to the streets of Kabul to the schools of Aleppo, where injustice and humiliation had left tremendous human suffering in their wake. No injustice had spread more bitter fruit than the denial of a Palestinian State, he said, stressing that Israel had to embrace peace or eventually be engulfed in a sea of hatred.
Here is the text of King Abdullah’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 20, 2016:
Mr Secretary General,
As I stand here today, elections to Jordan’s national parliament are coming to a conclusion. It is one more step on our country’s positive, evolutionary path – a path to which we have insistently conformed, despite regional turbulence and a massive refugee burden. It represents an achievement that is largely credited to our citizens – especially our young people – who have stubbornly held on to Jordan’s heritage of unity, strength, and forward-looking spirit in spite of the odds. And it is these very odds that make these elections a true triumph of progress over regression.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we gather here today, there are forces at play, in my region and beyond, whose sole purpose is to stack the odds against the core values that bind our common humanity. I, of course, refer to the network of extremist terrorists who have dominated headlines lately and seek global dominance as well. They want to wipe out our achievements and those of our ancestors; to erase human civilization, and drag us back to the dark ages.
The question we must ask ourselves as we face this, the battle of our generation, is: what will our legacy be? Will we pass on to our children a world dominated by dread and division? Where safety and security will be at the forefront of their minds as they board a plane, attend a cincert of football match, or stroll through a mall? Most important, are we doing what must be done to confront and decisively defeat this evil force, so that our children can live in a world where fear and suspicion are replaced by human camaraderie and hope, where they can reach their fullest potential and add to the stockpile of human achievement accrued over the ages?
As much as I wish it were otherwise sadly, the answer to that question is no. How can we be effective in this fight, where we haven’t clearly defined who the enemy is? Who are we fighting with and who are we fighting against? I am struck, today, after several years facing the global war on terror, with the lack of understanding of the true nature of Islam that I find among many Western officials, think tanks, media leaders and policymakers, I find myself stating the obvious again and again: False perceptions of Islam and of Muslims will fuel the terrorists’ agenda of a global struggle, by polarising and factionalising societies, East and West – each side stigmatising the other; each driven deeper into mistrust and intolerance.
Muslims – a quarter of the world’s population; citizens of every country – have a central role in the future of our planet. Muslim men and women bring to the world a rich heritage of civic responsibility, justice, generosity, family life, and faith in God. When others exclude Muslims from fulfilling their role, by prejudice or ignorance of what Islam is – or on the other hand, when the outlaws of Islam, the khawarej, attempt to mislead some Muslims, by deforming our religion through false teaching – our societies’ future is put at risk.
When the outlaws of Islam, the khawarej, murder; when they plunder; when they exploit children and reject the equality of women before God – they abuse Islam.
When the khawarej persecute minorities; when they deny freedom of religion – they abuse Islam.
Islam teaches that all humanity is equal in dignity. There is no distinction among different nations or regions or races. The Qur’an forbids coercion in religion. Every citizen is guaranteed the state’s protection for their lives, families, properties, honour, privacy, and freedom of religion and thought.
Muslims believe in the divine origins of the Bible and the Torah. God says in the Qur’an:
Say, ‘We believe in God, and that which has been revealed to us, and that which has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and the prophets, from their Lord; we make no division between any of them; and to Him we submit’.
[Aal ‘Imran 3:84-85]
Indeed, in the Qur’an, the prophet mentioned most is Moses – named 136 times. Jesus, whom we call ‘Christ Messiah’, is named 25 times. His mother Mary, called the ‘best of all women in creation’, is named 35 times. And there is a chapter in the Qur’an called ‘Maryam.’
The khawarej deliberately hide these truths about Islam in order to drive Muslims and non-Muslims apart. We cannot allow this to happen.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Understanding that this is a battle we must fight together – all religions, and all of us who believe in the dignity, freedom and well-being that is the birthright of every individual – then we can turn toward our common enemy and examine through a clearer lens the unique nature of our foe.
Let me state dearly that these radical outlaw groups do not exist on the fringes of Islam, they are altogether outside of it. Thus we refer to them as khawarej, outlaws of Islam. They declare the entire civilised world as the enemy, and all people, military or civilian, as ‘fair game’. They aim to incubate satellite “caliphates” in every country in the world in order to extend their reach. They also expand fast and wide through their mastery and exploitation of modern technology and social media.
To confront this non-traditional enemy we need non-traditional means – a new mindset, new partnerships, and reformed methodologies.
For Muslims, first and foremost, this is a fight for our future. All elements of our community have a role: not only mosques and religious centres, but media, schools, and community leaders. Let no one be misled.
Traditional Sunni Islam and all of its schools of jurisprudence, decisively reject the ideas and claims of takfiri jihadists. Muslims need to help identify and counter the outlaws of Islam who pick and choose, cut and paste religious texts, to twist and distort true Islamic teaching.
The International community also faces a fight for the future. The war will not be fought on the battlefield alone. Our adversary has put the fight in every place where humans live and interact: airports, cafes, city streets. Security Cooperation is imperative — but equally important is a holistic approach. We need to open up new channels between continents and nations; within countries; and among people.
This means reforming the way we communicate, share reformation, and use our technologies. The very same modern communication tools used against us must be employed for- us, and we can do this while respecting the important issue of privacy. Creative innovators in the private sector, especially in the technology sector, are vital to the furore and must bc brought on board.
Ours is a global fight. The focus must not stop with the Middle East, but reach far beyond – in West and East Africa, m South East Asia, and the Balkans.
In Syria, a military approach will leave no winners, only losers on every side, and further civilian suffering. An end to violence ultimately demands a political process, one shepherded by a unified global vision and led by all components of the Syrian people.
In Iraq, international support remains critical as the government and people continue to uproot the khawarej. However, key to achieving and sustaining any success is an inclusive approach engaging all components of the country in the political process and in state institutions.
As we pursue these goals, our international community must also take responsibility towards those whose lives have been crushed – millions of refugees, victims, and impoverished.
And we cannot decisively defeat the scourge of terror and violence without decisively roofing out the injustices that provide its fertile ground.
From the prisons of Abu Ghraib, to the streets of Kabul and schools in Aleppo, injustice and humiliation have left tremendous human suffering in their wake.
No injustice has spread more bitter fruit than the denial of a Palestinian state. I say: Peace is a conscious decision. Israel has to embrace peace or eventually be engulfed in a sea of hatred in a region of turmoil.
Safeguarding Jerusalem is a key concern … the Holy City; a strategic linchpin not only for my region but for the world.
This is a priority for me personally, and for all Muslims. We utterly reject attacks on Muslim and Christian Holy Sites and any attempts to alter the historic Muslim, Christian and Arab identity of the Holy City. As the custodian of Islamic Holy Sites in Jerusalem, I will continue my efforts to protect those places, and stand up against all violations of their anctity, including attempts for temporal and spatial division of Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif.
Perhaps the central and most vital battleground for this defining war of our generation is the mind. The despicable, damaging ideology of hate, murder and self-destruction, spread in crash courses online and elsewhere, must be confronted with a counter-narrative of hope, tolerance and peace.
Together in this General Assembly and in our regions, countries and communities across the world, we have the power to create that counter narrative.
Let us show we also have the will to act.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and for TheArabDailyNews.com, and TheDailyHookah.com.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com www.arabnews.com/taxonomy/term/10906