HM King Abdullah has been named as the 2018 Templeton Prize Laureate for his work promoting religious harmony.
King Abdullah “has done more to seek religious harmony within Islam, and between Islam and other religions, than any other political leader.
Often at significant risk and cost, and always with modesty and grace,” said Heather Templeton Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation and granddaughter of the founder, Sir John Templeton, in a video message.
One of King Abdullah’s contributions to spiritual progress is The Amman Message he released in 2004, which defined the true nature of Islam and characterized what Islam is and is not.
In 2006, he launched an initiative known as “A Common Word Between Us and You,” an open letter from Islamic religious leaders to Christian leaders calling for peace and harmony based on twin commandments shared by all monotheistic faiths, “love of God,” and “love of the neighbor.”
The initiative was originally signed by 138 Muslim leaders and scholars from 52 countries but now has more than 400 signatories, including 300 endorsements from a wide range of Christian leaders. It is considered by many to be the most important Muslim theological initiative towards Christians.
His majesty was also recognized for his commitment to protect the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem and for his leadership abilities which grant ethnic and religious groups the freedom to worship as they choose, and provide a safe haven to refugees.
Through his leadership abilities and groundbreaking initiatives, King Abdullah has led a reclamation of Islam’s moderate theological narrative from the distortions of radicalism, according to the Templeton Prize press release. His efforts have come with great personal cost including condemnation and death threats from radical terrorist groups.
“His Majesty King Abdullah’s work is indeed inspiring. He has underscored the importance of Islam’s diversity rather than seeking to invent or enforce uniformity where none exists,” Templeton said in the video message. “He has built upon the power of principled pluralism to extend religious harmony among the 1.8 billion followers of Islam, the world’s second largest religion, so that each can recognize one another as Muslims.”
Since 1972, the Templeton Prize has been given annually to a person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension. The prize was designed to help the laureates and their work become better known for the benefit of people who might be inspired by them.
Other milestones of the King’s reign include cultivating interfaith harmony through new organizations and programs such as the World Islamic Sciences and Education University in Amman, a fellowship for the study of love in religion at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, and the establishment of critical centers of thought, such as the Royal Aal-al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman.
Through speeches, writings and other forms of commentary in the media and at key international forums, the King continues to draw attention to what unites humanity, and to call for collective global action to address crises around the world and build a bright, peaceful future for all.
His Majesty King Abdullah II joins a group of 47 Prize recipients including Mother Teresa, who received the inaugural award in 1973, the Dalai Lama (2012), and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2013).
His Majesty King Abdullah II will be formally awarded the Templeton Prize in a public ceremony in Washington, D.C. on November 13.