AP Interview: Jordan prince calls for tolerance

AP News
Posted: Nov 26, 2014 11:30 AM
AP Interview: Jordan prince calls for tolerance

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Moderate Muslims must take a stand against religious extremists who violate the core values of Islam, a brother of Jordan's king said Wednesday.

Prince Feisal al-Hussein also said that Jordan is trying to defuse religious tensions at a major Jerusalem shrine that is sacred to Muslims and Jews.

Jordan serves as custodian of the Muslim-run shrine, which sits on the fault line of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Jordan is also part of a U.S.-led military coalition against the Islamic State group, which holds territory across Syria and Iraq.

The prince is chairman of "Generations for Peace," a group promoting peaceful conflict resolution. He said the organization he founded in 2007 has reached more than 200,000 young people in 50 countries.

"We need more of these programs around the world, but in combating religious extremism, it requires the moderates to stand up and say this (has) nothing to do with our religion," he told The Associated Press.

"What we are seeing practiced supposedly in the name of Islam, and supposedly, what they call themselves, Islamic State, has nothing to do with Islam. It goes against the core values," he said.

Feisal said extremism isn't just a problem in the Muslim world.

"When you look at entering the third millennium, I think the real battle that will define this century, at least, will be the fight against extremism," he said.

Meanwhile, Jordan is concerned about the growing religious tensions in Jerusalem, the prince said. Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, and the Palestinians seek it as the capital of a future state.

The contested shrine, revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount, is located in east Jerusalem's walled Old City. Muslims continued to administer the site after 1967, but some Israeli politicians demand a greater Jewish presence there.

"We want to calm the situation because it can be very volatile," the prince said. "It should be a kingdom of peace for ... Muslims, Christians and Jews."

He added: "It shouldn't be used as an excuse for more violence."