Fight against IS will go on, King Abdullah tells European Parliament

13 March 2015

Call to partnership: King Abdullah of Jordan addresses the European Parliament on Tuesday (CREDIT: AP)

Call to partnership: King Abdullah of Jordan addresses the European Parliament on Tuesday (CREDIT: AP)

KING ABDULLAH II of Jordan has condemned the persecution of Arab Christians. He was "outraged and grieved" by recent attacks, he said.

In a speech to members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, he described the actions of the so-called Islamic State (IS) as "an offence against humanity as well as Islam"; and said that "Arab Christians are an integral part of our region's past, present and future."

He described IS - which he referred to by the Arabic name Daesh - as "terrorists with ruthless ambition" who were motivated by power rather than faith.

The response of Jordan to the murder of its pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, who was burned alive by IS, was "swift, serious, and determined", he said. "Our fight will continue."

"We, and other Arab and Muslim states, defend not only our people but our faith," he said. "This is a fight that has to be carried out by Muslim nations first and foremost. This is a fight within Islam."

He said: "All my life, every day, I have heard and used the greeting as-salamu alaykum - a wish for the other to be blessed with peace. This is what it means to be a Muslim.

"More than a thousand years ago, before the Geneva Conventions, Muslim soldiers were ordered not to kill a child, a woman, or an old person; not to destroy a tree; not to harm a priest; not to destroy a church. These were the same values of Islam we were taught in school as children: not to destroy or desecrate a place where God is worshipped; not a mosque, not a church, not a synagogue.

"This is what it means to be a Muslim. These are the values I teach my children. And they will hand it on to theirs."

He warned that failure to achieve a "final comprehensive settlement" between the Palestinians and Israelis was being used by extremists as "a powerful rallying cry" to recruit fighters and to "breed future hate, violence, and terror across the world". He called on countries to unite and "provide the momentum and chart the way forward".

He concluded his speech by saying that the regions and people of Europe and the Middle East "can find no better partners and neighbours than each other. History, geography, and future bind us. Let no one separate us, because together we can create pillars of mutual respect that will support the common good for generations to come."

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