In his 2018 Templeton Prize acceptance speech, King Abdullah II of Jordan said,
“Our world needs to confront challenges to our shared humanity and values. They are the very ground of the coexistence and harmony our future depends on. And this is why I feel it is so urgent to promote tolerance and mutual respect, support inclusion and hope, speak out against Islamophobia and other wrongs, and make our values a real force in the daily life of the modern world.”
We honor the birthday of King Abdullah II on January 30th by taking a moment to reflect on this message of coexistence and understanding.
King Abdullah’s words ring as true and powerful today as they did four years ago. The principles of tolerance, respect, and open-mindedness — which are foundational tenets of the Templeton Prize — are more important than ever as our global communities struggle to maintain connection during a difficult and enduring pandemic.
King Abdullah received the prize in recognition of having done more to advance harmony within Islam itself as well as seek interfaith harmony than any other living political leader. Among his many accomplishments are coordinating the “Three Points of the Amman Message” declaration, supporting an open letter from Islamic religious leaders to Christian religious leaders, and proposing the annual UN World Interfaith Harmony Week.
In his address at the 2018 Templeton Prize Award Ceremony, held at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, leading Islamic scholar Hamza Yusuf said, “We live in a world characterized by too much misunderstanding, and riven by too many misbegotten wars and revolutions, so the tireless efforts of a leader like King Abdullah in the service of peace, empathy and understanding must be honored and celebrated as we do here tonight.”
We invite you to join us this week in continuing to celebrate and honor the work of our esteemed 2018 Templeton Prize laureate.