- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2006

A year ago today, 60 innocent lives vanished in the triple suicide bombings in our capital, Amman. I take this sad opportunity to express my deep sorrow of the tragic loss incurred in Amman, and many capitals and cities around the world.

That day has shocked and saddened all Jordanians, Muslims and Christians alike. However, we have not, as these terrorists intended, capitulated to their objective — namely to undermine Jordan as it stands as the beacon of moderation — a country that has been an oasis of peace and stability in a volatile and tumultuous region.

These attacks have not and will not weaken our resolve. We will continue to work with our friends and allies, in the region and around the world, in the pursuit of a peaceful future for the generations to come.

We in Jordan believe that fighting terrorism entails more than security cooperation and prevention. It is the never-ending battle for ideas that needs to be superceded by a dialogue of civilizations and among faiths, especially between the Arab and the Muslim world on the one hand and the West on the other.

Taking on this challenge, His Majesty King Abdullah has taken vital steps to combat extremism and reaffirm the essential message of Islam as one of peace and acceptance. Back in November 2004, during the holy month of Ramadan, Jordan launched the Amman Message on Islam in an effort to reveal a message of humanity; rejecting extremism as a deviation from Islamic beliefs. This initiative stresses the true values of Islam and promotes a proper understanding of the faith which honors all human beings and provides common ground among different faiths and peoples.

The Amman Message boldly called for an intra-Islamic conference, which was successfully realized in July 2005 in Amman. A historic summit in its final declaration and scope, the international conference brought together, for the first time in 1,400 years, Muslim scholars from 45 nations. Those participants represented all eight schools of jurisprudence within Islam, including all Sunni and Shi’ite sects. Together, they issued a joint statement that affirmed Islam’s core values.

Jordan has indeed embarked on the path of reform by firstly and most importantly focusing on education. Jordan has constantly revised its curricula to introduce global values throughout the education system.

Through the Jordan Education Initiative (JEI), we have enabled our students to compete globally in the knowledge economy and we have trained teachers and administrators to use technology in the classroom and guide students through critical thinking and analysis. Today, the JEI is being emulated in India, the Palestinian territories, Bahrain and other countries.

Jordan during the past two decades has successfully embarked on a political reform process that reinstated our parliament. Our government is currently engaged with our 14th parliament in updating our election laws, especially the municipal elections law. This new legislation insures elections are more representative and inclusive.

Also, a central part of a most effective counter-terrorism strategy is continued cooperation and coordinated action between all states. As a global threat, terrorism necessitates a global solution that highlights the importance of information sharing, communication and constructive dialogue.

A comprehensive strategy must include a holistic approach to the region. This effort should focus our energies on resolving the destructive conflicts. King Abdullah often stressed, the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis constitutes an essential piece of a much larger puzzle that includes the aspirations of disaffected peoples across the Middle East. Jordan, under the Hashemite leadership, has worked tirelessly to bring an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and create an atmosphere of harmony and coexistence that we all aspire for.

To secure a peaceful Middle East, it is essential to galvanize political will and action. We need to listen to the voices of moderation, speak out on behalf of the silent majority in our region, and empower them with the tools they need to confront the present challenges. We must act in concert, before the window of opportunity closes. U.S. leadership is greatly needed to push the process forward and ensure the implementation of all commitments and obligations under the roadmap to peace.

Jordan has long pledged to reinstate hope and to continue the pursuit of peace in our region. We will achieve those noble goals together with our friends and allies here in the United States and in the region.

Today, in commemoration of the Amman attacks, we dedicate our message of hope and peace to the victims of terror in our beloved capital and around the world.

Karim Kawar is the ambassador of Jordan.

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