The King of Jordan, Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom, has been awarded the 2018 Templeton prize with judges claiming he has done more to seek religious harmony between Islam and other religions than any other living political leader.
The announcement was made at www.templetonprize.org by the John Templeton Foundation, based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
Known for his grace and humility, the King’s long quest to promote peace-affirming Islam gained momentum in 2004 in the wake of the Iraq war when the fragile unity of Sunni and Shi’a Muslims in the region was at substantial risk.
During that period, increasingly vocal rhetoric from marginal Islamic groups threatened to create deeper schisms within the Islamic community. In the face of these challenges, the King launched the breakthrough Amman Message that articulated a clear understanding of the central elements of Islam, and affirmed that terrorism and violence have no place in the religion.
In 2005, 200 Islamic scholars representing all schools of jurisprudence in Islam, under his guidance, issued a declaration now known as the “Three Points of the Amman Message,” which recognised the validity of all eight legal schools of Islam, forbade declarations of apostasy between Muslims, and established conditions for issuing fatwas, Islamic legal rulings.
The following year, King Abdullah II supported and funded “A Common Word Between Us and You,” which led to a 2007 open letter from Islamic religious leaders to Christian religious leaders calling for peace and harmony based on the twin commandments shared by both faiths, “love of God” and “love of the neighbour.”
In 2010, he proposed UN World Interfaith Harmony Week with a General Assembly resolution adding “love of God or love of the good” to “love of one’s neighbour,” thus including all people of goodwill, with or without faith. The resolution, adopted unanimously, established the first week of February as UN World Interfaith Harmony Week.
The Templeton Prize, valued at 1.1 million British pounds, is one of the world’s largest annual individual awards and honors a person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. Previous winners include Mother Theresa, Billy Graham and the Dalai Lama.
In awarding the Templeton Prize to King Abdullah, the Foundation also emphasised his unwavering commitment to protect Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, and his leadership which has guaranteed safe haven for Jordan’s ethnic and religious groups.
56-year-old, King Abdullah II, will be formally awarded the Templeton Prize in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on November 13.