Principle of justice is key: King Abdullah


“We say today with a single voice that religions through which Almighty God sought to bring happiness to mankind should not be turned into instruments to cause misery,” the king said in his keynote speech at the Culture of Peace Conference organized by the UN General Assembly.

“Human beings are created equals and partners on this planet. Either they can live together in peace and harmony or they will inevitably be consumed by the flames of misunderstanding, malice and hatred.”

King Abdullah added that the focus on differences by followers of different faiths and cultures had led to fanaticism and destructive wars.

“There was no need for such wars … The time has come for us to learn lessons from the ruthless past and unite together on moral values and lofty examples that we all believe in … We can leave our differences for God to make His judgment on the Day of Judgment.”

The world desperately needs to learn the positive lessons of religion, said UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, who opened the conference. All religions teach “social responsibility,” he added, but the world has “become contaminated by the spirit of selfishness and individualism.”

D’Escoto said that the world must choose between the values of consumerism and greed, or social responsibility and ethical behavior, including the economic and political spheres.

His attack on the “unbridled greed” of the “dominant” Western culture struck a chord among most leaders at the conference.

The plenary meeting at the UN headquarters in New York — attended by nearly 70 heads of state and senior officials — is an initiative put forward by King Abdullah, aimed at hastening action on some of the most urgent challenges facing the world.

“All the tragedies the world witnesses today is the result of its abandoning of a major principle, the principle of justice, promulgated by all religions and cultures,” said King Abdullah, who is the first Saudi king to address the United Nations in 51 years.

Everybody in the conference hall appreciated King Abdullah’s efforts in trying to unite the world.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the king for playing a crucial role in organizing the conference. He said a global effort was needed to confront a rising tide of communal strife and religious extremism.

King Abdullah lambasted terrorism.

“(Those who indulge in) terrorism and (other) crimes are enemies of God and enemies of every religion and culture,” he said. “They would not have appeared in the presence of tolerance.”

He blamed the decay of family values for the spread of drug abuse and crime.

King Abdullah told world leaders that interfaith dialogue would help revive lofty values and reinforce them in the minds of peoples and nations.

He thanked world leaders and other dignitaries who came from different parts of the globe to attend the conference.

“We would like to emphasize here that our interest in dialogue was inspired by the teachings of Islam and its values and because of our concern for the future of humanity,” the king said. “We’ll stretch our hands to all those who love peace, justice and tolerance.”

The king concluded his speech by reciting a verse from the Holy Qur’an: “O people, we created you from a male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of God is the most righteous.”

“Your Majesty, the King of Saudi Arabia, I was listening to your message,” Israeli President Shimon Peres said from the podium after the king spoke of the need for religious tolerance and said terrorism was the enemy of religion.

“I wish that your voice will become the prevailing voice of the whole region, of all people,” said Peres. “It’s right, it’s needed, it’s promising.”


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