Does King Abdullah of Jordan really want to mend fences with Jews? He was in Washington the other day saying all the right things in just the right tones. “Jordan’s king reaches out to Jews, hits radical Islam,” from the Washington Times:
Jordan’s King Abdullah II told a gathering of American rabbis yesterday that Jews and Muslims are irrevocably “tied together by culture and history” and that he is willing to take radical measures to combat Muslim extremists.
“We face a common threat: extremist distortions of religion and the wanton acts of violence that derive therefrom,” the king said. “Such abominations have already divided us from without for far too long.”
Criticizing al Qaeda terrorists Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab Zarqawi for “abuses of our faith,” the king, speaking at a heavily guarded lunch meeting at the Ritz-Carlton in Northwest, made clear he wishes to establish himself as the voice of moderate Islam.
He pointed to a July conference he held in Amman, Jordan, for 180 Muslim scholars as a key part of his effort to undermine the far Islamic right. The conference was supported by fatwas — or legal rulings — from 17 major Islamic scholars.
“Muslims from every branch of Islam can now assert without doubt or hesitation,” he said, “that a fatwa calling for the killing of innocent civilians — no matter what nationality or religion, Muslim or Jew, Arab or Israeli — is a basic violation of the most fundamental principles of Islam.”
Now, King Abdullah said, it’s time to mend fences with the worldwide Jewish community.
Okay, Your Majesty, here’s a place to start:
At home, however, the king encounters massive anti-Semitism. According to a July poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press on global attitudes toward religious groups, 100 percent of Jordanian respondents said they either had a “very unfavorable” or “somewhat unfavorable” view of Jews.