King meets Russia's Patriarch Kirill, Head of Fatwa Council

15-02-2018 03:43 PM

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - His Majesty King Abdullah II on Thursday met His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and the Head of Fatwa Council of Russia, Sheikh Rawi Ain El Din, in the presence of HRH Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammad, the King's Chief Adviser for religious and Cultural Affairs and the Personal Envoy of His Majesty King Abdullah.

Speaking at the meeting, His Majesty thanked Patriarch Kirill for the warm welcome and for expressing views on mutual challenges. "This is a time for all of us to stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to express what unites us in this world," the King noted.

Commending "the strong moral position" of the Russian Orthodox Church at home and across the world, His Majesty said: "The belief that to love thy God and love thy neighbour is what binds us together." "Your influence in our part of the world, your voice in our part of the world is desperately needed in this time," the King told Patriarch Kirill.

Noting the global efforts to fight the scourge of international terrorism, and Russia’s role in this regard, His Majesty said that another major challenge is strengthening "Christian communities in our region, in Palestine, and more importantly I think in Jerusalem".

"Christian Orthodoxy has been part of our past. It is, today, our present; and it must be part of our future. And if that is not the case, then we will all pay the price." the King asserted.

"We observe, and recognise, and commend the role that the Russian Orthodox Church has played in Syria, not only in reaching out to protect our Christian brethren there, but also, your support has gone to the weak and the disenfranchised as we in Jordan have welcomed our Christian brethren who flee violence both in Syria and Iraq from these oppressive terrorist organisations," His Majesty said.

The King stressed that Jordan’s role also entails making sure that "our Christian brethren" can go back to their homes in Syria and Iraq, "because those communities are ancient communities".

His Majesty also highlighted Jordan’s efforts in launching the Amman Message to identify what is right about Islam and to reach out to other religions.

"One of the outcomes of that is again, probably not understood in the international community is that if Muslims in nations outside of our region are given equal rights as citizens as part of that nation, their loyalty is to that nation, not to the centres of Islam in our part of the world," the King explained.

"To paraphrase an old saying, for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing; and we are all good men, and we have to speak in a louder voice of what unites us, what brings us together in this tremendous challenge that we have," His Majesty said.

For his part, Patriarch Kirill said: "The Russian Orthodox Church attaches great importance to the dialogue that we’ve managed to foster with the leadership of Jordan, and in particular with Your Majesty." "I recall our conversation with you back in 2012 how you told me about the inter-religious interactions in Jordan. You told me about the peaceful coexistence of different religions. And certainly, I have had the joy to see that personally," the Patriarch said.

"So, I would like to congratulate you, Your Majesty, on the policy that you are pursuing with regards to different religions, groups, Muslims, Orthodox Christians everyone feels at home, feels that they are on an equal footing and that equal opportunities are open before them," he added.

"I’d like to thank you for maintaining a high level of inter-religious dialogue and cooperation in Jordan," Patriarch Kirill said.

"When you come to Jordan, you do not feel in any way that you represent a religious minority in this country all religious groups treat each other with respect. And, certainly, you are to be credited for that to a large extent," he noted.

"But it is also something that we should credit to your late father, King Hussein," the Patriarch said, recalling a meeting he had with King Hussein.

"And even back then, we learned from King Hussein how warm the relations were between Muslims and Orthodox Christians in Jordan back then. And you have not just managed to preserve this wonderful tradition, you have also helped to develop it amid the challenges and threats of today," he added.

Patriarch Kirill also noted that "the Russian Orthodox Church attaches great importance to inter-religious as well as to inter-ethnic dialogue", stressing the importance of working together "at the international as well as inter-religious bases in order to foster one single front to fight terrorism".

While in Russia, King Abdullah visited the Moscow Cathedral Mosque, where he met with Head of the Fatwa Council of Russia, Sheikh Rawi Ain El Din and other Islamic scholars.

The meeting touched on challenges pertaining to terrorism and their impact in defamation of Islam. The King highlighted the important role of mosques in raising the true and tolerant image of Islam which advocates peace and compassion and repudiates violence and hatred.

"We have a duty to uphold the true tolerant image of Islam,", said the King, noting initiatives which Jordan had launched such as the Amman Message, World Interfaith Harmony Week and the Common Word initiative, in a bid to promote dialogue and understanding between faith communities.

The King Also pointed out the essential role of Islamic scholars in disseminating the values of tolerance and moderation among communities and peoples, highlighting the significance of the voice of moderation of Russia's Muslims in defending the Islamic nation causes.

On his part, Sheikh Rawi Ain El Din commended King Abdullah's efforts in highlighting the true image of Islam in the different international forums.

He said the King's visit was historic as His Majesty is the direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). The Amman Message initiative, which Jordan launched in 2004 and calls for tolerance and unity in the Muslim world is of great importance, said Sheikh Ain El Din, lauding the King's efforts in supporting Islamic communities.

He also underscored Jordan's role, led by King Abdullah, to realize peace and security in the Middle East, as well as His Majesty's unwavering efforts and endeavors to achieve comprehensive peace, leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Sheikh Ain El Din also praised the historic role of King Abdullah in protecting Islamic and Christian sanctities in Jerusalem out of the Hashemite Custodianship over the holy sites in the city. At the end of the meeting, King Abdullah singed the Mosque's guestbook.

The meeting was attended by Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs and Jordan's Ambassador in Moscow.

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