Visits with Church and Political Leaders in Jordan

This same group of leaders traveled to Jordan the weekend before the Annual Council Meeting began. They discussed the role of faith communities in promoting a culture of non-violence, respect for all religions and peaceful co-existence with Jordanian government officials in Amman.

At a meeting with Jordanian Prime Minister Adnan Badran, delegation leaders Hanson, Noko and Younan commended Jordan’s contribution to the Middle East peace process, especially its support for inter-religious dialogue and far-reaching efforts to promote a culture of non-violence in resolving conflict. The meeting with Badran who is also Minister of Defence was also attended by Foreign Minister Farouq Qasrawi.

The representatives of the Jordanian government and king commended the LWF for its support to Palestinian refugees over several decades especially through humanitarian relief work. They also expressed willingness to work with the ELCJHL and the LWF on joint efforts to promote practical religious co-existence.

During separate meetings with the king’s personal envoy Prince Ghazi, and advisor, Mr Akel Biltaji, the significance of religious education in early schooling was discussed. Jordan, the LWF delegation learned, is involving students in education projects that promote religious tolerance. The LWF leaders also commended Jordan’s role as the custodian of holy sites in the Holy Land.

His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi, personal envoy and special advisor to King Abdullah, spoke frankly of the situation in Israel and the West Bank, emphasized the Royal Family’s interest in peaceful relations between Muslims and Christians, and sought formally to work with Lutherans to promote greater understanding.

Ghazi said Jordan is particularly concerned about the West Bank separation barrier which makes a two-state solution between Palestinians and Israelis impossible.

The prince proposed a Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, which attempts to avoid “a clash of civilizations” and depoliticizes religion. There is a growing awareness among Muslims that there needs to be dialogue with Christians and others, he said. Education is also important for Muslims to promote greater understanding with others. Seven “principles” of emphasis for Muslims the prince highlighted were: no terrorism, no offensive jihad, good citizenry, the possibility of democracy, respect for religions, human rights and women’s rights, he said. “Those are seven issues we think we can deliver through education,” he said. Taken from stories by John Brooks, ELCA News Director http://www.elca.org/news

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