The “issue of the Christian Arabs” has always been the main concern of His Majesty the King. In addition to the historic initiatives which Jordan hosted and founded–to become conspicuously global in today’s world where religion has a say in large and minute affairs–His Majesty’s address at the United Nations this year has had resounding global media reverberations. The Christian Arabs are an integral part of the fabric, even if this Arab fabric is torn apart, as His Majesty said: “Arab Christians are an integral part of our region’s past, present, and future.”
The past is addressed by libraries, discoveries and translations. As for Jordan, our past is represented by stones and archaeological sites. We are not claiming that we have merely five Christian sites, since there are hundreds of such sites. The Mass celebrated last June by huge masses of people at Umm el-Jimal provides cogent evidence that history has not obliterated Christian presence in this region, for history still mentions and appreciates this presence and derives from its spiritual springs and enlightened intellectuality.
The Arab Christians are an integral part of the present of this region and this nation through many intellectual, educational, health and social institutions run by Churches as well as their spiritual patrons and believers. These institutions welcome everybody with open hearts. Whoever receives an education in these schools likes to come back to these schools and aspires to have his children “attend” these schools as they do not parctise rote teaching, since they concentrate on sound upbringing of generations that accepts others, promotes dialogue and supports integrated and balanced personalities.
“The Christian Arabs are part of the future.” These words uttered by His Majesty the King serve as a source of reassurance, consolation and entrenchment of this presence which has been seeking a mere geographic “existence” in the Middle East at the gates of Western embassies. This Royal talk, which has never been expressed by any other leader, dispels fears, warnings, analysis and speculations that this “presence” is doomed to vanish.
In the wake of the visit undertaken by some patriarchs of the East to the US capital, His Majesty the King made an address at the UN podium which exudes confidence and optimism, and eliminates bleak views. The Arab Christians are staying; and they will continue the march of coexistence through their social development and cultural contributions in all social outlets and by building humane contacts and cooperation between the East and the West.
That is why His Majesty spoke about the “components” rather than “minorities”, due to the contribution Christian Arabs make to their communities. This contribution is rich. It is characterized by enrichment, transparency and respect for the other components of society, particularly the constructive cooperative relations with the brotherly Muslims, within the system of sound citizenship, and equal rights and duties.
His Majesty addressed the very same issue at the UN Security Council session, as well as at the “Clinton Initiative” seminar on coexistence and the fight against extremism. He added that the contribution of Arab Christians is a source of “pride” being “a cornerstone in building our societies 2,000 years ago.”
From this premise, as we accentuate the importance of the initiatives launched by Jordan in the past–which have become global and constituting part of the annual programs of the world countries–we also support the proposal presented by the His Majesty, namely the formulation of an international law that considers whoever commits and offence against religious components be viewed as committing a heinous crime against humanity as a whole. This measure will undoubtedly terminate the targeting of the religious components in any society. It is not acceptable, in any way, that at a time we live in the era of digital developments, some parties here and there try to “eliminate” other religious components and brush aside their effective, influential and positive roles.
Thank you, Your Majesty.