Jordan’s King Abdullah made a long list of promises yesterday to a gathering of Washington D.C.-area rabbis, including a pledge to counter the proliferation of extremist Islamic thought throughout his kingdom, while also helping to repair relations with world Jewry. According to the Washington Times, Abdullah stated:
“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.”
As the Times reminds readers, however, Abdullah has his work cut out for him:
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.
While the words of Adbullah are welcome and soothing to the ear, he, like many other Middle Eastern “enlightened” monarchs, offers little in the way of specifics on how he would rectify the increasingly hateful atmosphere in Jordan. Someone should query Abdullah on how he intends to purge the official press organs of anti-Semitic elements, or how he plans to gain control of the rhetoric spewed within the nation’s mosques? Furthermore, does anyone really think that his majesty would be willing to give the speech he gave yesterday in front of a native Jordanian crowd? 100 percent of a nation’s population does not express disdain for Jews unless they live a culture awash in anti-Semitic vitriol.