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Jordan’s King Abdullah ‘Outraged’ by Persecution of Christians, Says Christians, Muslims Can Peacefully Coexist

( [email protected] ) Mar 12, 2015 03:03 PM EDT
Jordanian King Abdulla II has said he is "outraged" by the crimes committed against Christians by ISIS militants and emphasized that Christians and Muslims must live in peaceful coexistence to effectively defeat the jihadist group.
Jordan's King Abdullah II previously called the death of a Jordanian pilot ''sickening'' and has vowed to defeat the Islamic State until his military ''runs out of bullets.'' Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Jordan's King Abdullah II has said he is "outraged" by  ISIS' persecution of Christians and emphasized that coexistence and mutual respect between Christians and Muslims is crucial in combating religious extremism.

"I am outraged and grieved by the recent attacks in some countries against Christian and minority communities. This is an offense against humanity as well as Islam. Arab Christians are an integral part of our region's past, present and future" Abdullah told the European Parliament while speaking of the global dangers of extremism, the AFP reports.

Since overtaking large swaths and Iraq and Syria last month, ISIS has driven thousands of Christians and other religious minorities from their homes in an attempt to establish a caliphate in the region. In February, 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded by the militants in Libya, and in March, over 200 Assyrian Christians were abducted and their villages ransacked by the jihadist group.

Many of those displaced have sought refuge in Jordan, a predominantly Muslim country of .6 million that has seen little hardship at the hands of the ISIS.

"Jordan is a Muslim country, with a deeply-rooted Christian community," Abdullah told Parliament. "Together, the Jordanian people make up an indivisible society, friends and partners in building our country."

He added that Muslims play a critical role in worldwide understand and tolerance, as Islam upholds the human dignity of every person.

"More than a thousand years before the Geneva Conventions, Muslim soldiers were ordered not to kill a child, a woman or an old person, not to destroy a tree, not to harm a priest, not to destroy a church," Abdullah said. "These are the same values of Islam we were taught in school as children: not to destroy or desecrate a place where God is worshiped, not a mosque, not a church, not a synagogue."

Earlier this year, Abdullah vowed to pursue ISIS until his military ran "out of fuel and bullets" following the brutal death of Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who was burned alive in a cage by the jihadist group.

"We are waging this war to protect our faith, our values and human principles and our war for their sake will be relentless and will hit them in their own ground," state TV quoted the King as saying.

After carrying out a series of airstrikes in retaliation for al-Kaseasbeh's death, Jordan's military released a statement, asserting "This is just the beginning and you shall know who the Jordanians are."

Speaking on Wednesday, Abdullah also encouraged European leaders to help Middle Eastern countries create peace and religious tolerance in the region, reiterating that peaceful coexistence in not only possible, but necessary in defeating ISIS.

"Our regions, our people, can find no better partners and neighbors than each other. History, geography and future bind us. Let no one separate us, Abdullah said. " Together, we can create pillars of mutual respect that will support the common good for generations to come."