Jordan’s King Sees a Possible ‘Lack of Understanding of Islam’ in Washington

Patrick Goodenough | February 6, 2018 | 4:30am EST
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President Trump and Jordan’s King Abdullah walk along the West Colonnade towards the White House Rose Garden on April 6, 2017. (Photo: White House/Shealah Craighead)

( – Islam is “not a religion of hate,” Jordan’s King Abdullah said in a recent interview, arguing that there was perhaps a “lack of understanding” of the religion in Washington.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria asked Abdullah – in an interview filmed in Davos last month but aired on Sunday – about President Trump’s stated view during the 2016 election campaign that “I think Islam hates us.”

“By ‘us,’ I think he meant America,” Zakaria said. “In your conversations with President Trump, have you tried to persuade him that that was not the case?”

“Absolutely, to all Americans,” Abdullah replied. “And whether I’m in Washington, in the Congress, or with the administration, I think maybe there’s a lack of understanding of Islam.”

Abdullah said his religion is built on “moral virtues” that are seen in other faiths including Christianity and Judaism.

“It is not a religion of hate,” he said. “We, as Muslims, believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. We believe in the holy virgin mother. We believe in the Bible and the Torah. And I think this is the way that all of us were brought up.”

 The Jordanian king conceded that there were those within Islam who have a different view.

“We have challenges, because there are fringe groups that have created problems,” he said.

“As I’ve said before, we have a fight inside of Islam. This is a civil war between all of us and those that not only consider us heretics, but consider Christians, Jews and other religions all heretics and should be put to the sword.”

In fighting that “scourge,” he said, Muslims are working side-by-side with Christians, Jews and others.

Abdullah said his concern about terrorism in the United States is not so much about “terrorists getting in,” since security is “quite robust.”

“What you don’t want – and not just in the United States – in my country or in Europe, is to have the Muslim population feeling victimized and isolated,” he said. “That creates a breeding ground of contempt.”

Pressed again about Trump’s rhetoric on Islam, Abdullah said again he has discussed the issue with the president, but also emphasized the U.S. global leadership against terrorism.

“Don’t forget that, in our global fight against international terrorism, the United States is the most active partner in the world – not just with Jordan, but with Europe, the countries in Africa and the Far East.”

“So they are our allies,” he said. “And, you know, our relationship with the United States is institutional. I think that, you know, we are all partners in this global challenge.”

While Abdullah correctly identified areas of commonality between Islam and Christianity, the theological doctrines underpinning them are starkly different.

The Qur’an does describe Jesus (Issa) as Messiah, but Islam rejects the foundational notion in Christianity of Jesus as redeemer and Savior. Islam and Christianity both hold as true the virgin birth, but while the former regards it as a miracle of Allah the latter contends that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20, Luke 1:35), making him both God and man.

Islam rejects Jesus’ divinity (Qur’an 9:30 states: “the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah … may Allah destroy them”) and it denies that Jesus was crucified and resurrected (Qur’an 4:157 says: “And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him.”)

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