Thank you very much. I'm delighted to
see so many familiar faces. It is a pleasure to be in France
once again. My father King Hussein had a special place in
his heart for this great country. And I deeply appreciate
the warm welcome you have always given me and my family.
I'm honoured to have this opportunity to speak here today.
This is, quite frankly, a moment of tremendous
global unease. The disquiet that many of us feel was captured
in a recent headline proclaiming the "end of tolerance."
It was prompted, of course, by the controversy over cartoons
denigrating the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him.
Much has been said about the cartoon crisis
and how it grew. Let me simply say that Muslims around the
world — and I am one of them — condemned the
denigration of the prophet. The majority of Muslims also
condemn the violence that ensued as alien to the principles
of Islam. And I know that many in the West also spoke out,
rejecting the vilification of Islam.
The cartoon controversy has exposed the
fault lines in our global society. Not so long ago, we saw
our world as one of dynamic interconnections and multicultural
tolerance. But today — even as our cultures and economies
interact more than ever before — the talk is of a
clash of civilisations. Because, as the age of globalisation
has grown, it has not grown in the most significant way;
it has not moved beyond tolerance, to creating cultures
of respect, rooted in understanding.
There is no clash of civilisations. But
we have received a grave warning. And we know, too, that
there are those among us who seek to deepen the fault lines.
They would capitalise on our lack of understanding about
each other, to set off an earthquake of anger, resentment
and fear. This applies not only between East and West, but
within Eastern and Western cultures.
We should not mistake what a clash of
civilisations would mean in practical terms. A breakdown
in the ties of trade and investment that are vital for economic
growth and job opportunity. Barriers to solutions to cross-border
problems — health, environment, poverty and more.
The erosion of joint security cooperation, which has played
such a key role in containing and ending regional conflicts.
Serious obstacles in the path of international development.
A halt to the cultural exchange that enriches life everywhere.
In Jordan, our French friends have long
been part of the landscape — at the French Cultural
Centre, the Terra Sancta School, L'ecole des Freres, and
more. Our scholars work together — in Jordan, in France,
and in Internet space. French investors have channelled
800 million euros into key Jordanian enterprises, employing
thousands of people. Here in France, thousands work in industries
that export goods to Jordan. Across the globe, our peacekeeping
forces work side-by-side meeting crises like that in Kosovo.
At the diplomatic tables, our countries cooperate on shared
Let me say it plainly: The Middle East
needs Europe and Europe needs the Middle East. But the peaceful,
integrated global society that we all need is not going
to materialise by itself. It needs our active, conscious
efforts — to move from cultures of tolerance to cultures
of respect. To create true appreciation for each other's
beliefs, concerns and goals. To develop a new understanding
— recognising our differences, yes; but also the powerful
values that bind us.
Bridging the respect gap is going to take a commitment from
all of us. In November 2004, we in Jordan released the Amman
Message. It is an explanation of the true nature of Islam
and a call to peaceful coexistence among all human beings.
I believe this initiative provides a programme for moving
forward: To speak boldly against hatred and ignorance...
to work together for the common good... and to avert a clash
that will harm us all.
Political and religious leadership has
a crucial role. Within the worldwide Muslim community, numerous
leaders, at every level of society, have raised their voices
to restate Islam's commitment to respect for others. Last
July, a gathering of some of the most learned Islamic scholars
in the world met to carry the Amman Message forward. Their
declaration strikes at the roots of extremism by denying
its Islamic legitimacy. Last December, the international
Organisation of the Islamic Conference endorsed the principles
and recommendations enshrined in the scholars' declaration.
Our regions should also be drawing on
our bilateral and multilateral ties — to strengthen
understanding of our shared future; and to enhance effective
cooperation. International institutional frameworks can
play a central role in identifying strategies and means.
The Barcelona process clearly identifies cultural cooperation
as one of the three basic elements of security and progress.
And the Euro-Med Partnership can carry that forward. We
need to strengthen such initiatives and expand their reach.
In building respect, an active dialogue
among peoples is also important. Our world learned this
truth in the healing of racial divisions; we learned it
in peace-building among nations; it is central to interfaith
harmony as well.
My friends, allow me to say that you in
the media also play a critical role. As observers and communicators,
you are the conduit through which cultures and societies
are exposed to each other. Your work puts you in a privileged
position to learn — firsthand and in depth —
about societies, religions, traditions and values. You contribute
directly to global understanding — by avoiding and
correcting distortions... by refusing to incite hatred...
by offering reasoned criticism and analysis... and by portraying
the full dimensions of people's lives: Their concerns, their
triumphs, their insecurities, their hopes.
These steps and others are vital as we
confront the challenges of our time — to achieve this
new century's potential and lift the billions who are still
oppressed by poverty and conflict.
The entire world has a stake in a stable,
forward-looking Iraq. Last month's heinous attacks on sacred
places were clearly intended to fan sectarian strife. I
have repeatedly urged Iraqis to stand together — and
stand firm — against such provocation. To advance
that cause, Jordan has called for a conference in Amman...
to bring together Iraqi religious leaders to find a way
to preserve Iraq's unity... and to restore, as soon as possible,
its security and stability.
The Palestinian-Israeli peace process
is also at a critical point. Only a lasting peace will enable
people on both sides to build the positive future they need.
And the only guarantee for peace is the two-state solution:
A viable, sovereign Palestinian state, living alongside
a secure Israel. Between today's realities and that positive
future, there is an urgent need to build some new bridges.
The foundation of peace is, can only be, respect.
Progress in peace — whether in the
Middle East, Central Asia, Europe or Africa — requires
us to resist those who would divide us. So let us make the
end of tolerance a beginning — the first step on a
new path that leads beyond tolerance, towards the kind of
real understanding that heightens our respect for each other.
Diversity is part of the human condition.
In the Koran, it is written: God Almighty said: "Mankind
! We created you from a pair of a male and female, and made
you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other.
It is up to us, here and now, to know
each other; and build the bonds. God willing, we can do
so, and move forward.
Thank you very much.