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Monday, November 11, 2013

Jordan's Queen Rania: Arab democracy will take generations

From MEMRI.

This indicates that Queen Rania is wiser than every Arab leader combined.




Following are excerpts from an interview with Queen of Jordan Rania Abdallah, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on October 28, 2013:

Queen Rania Abdallah: When we talk about the youth, I believe that part of the reason for their frustration, which may have led to some of the revolutions we witness in the Arab world, is that Arab youth today live in two different worlds – the real world and the virtual world. The Internet has broadened the horizons of our youth, has opened up the world to them and has raised the level of their expectations.

Today, when our youth sit in front of the computer, they enter the virtual world. In that world, they develop a certain personality and identity for themselves, they communicate with others, they express themselves freely and comfortably. They influence the opinions of others, they see how others live their lives, and what choices are available to them. When they leave their computers, they return to the real world, and they see that nobody cares about what they have to say, that they enjoy no freedom, have no real choices, and that their hands are tied. So they have a sense of sorrow and disappointment.

These feelings lead to frustration, which, at times, leads to violence. So our priority should be to bridge the gap between the two worlds, in order to make an easy transition between the two. How can we do this? By providing our youth with skills, capabilities, and tools that will give them greater opportunities. In my opinion, providing a choice is the basis for freedom and independence. That way, we can provide people with greater room for participation, in order to change the reality around them.

[...]

When we talk about mutual agreement, we are talking about a dialogue that brings together all parties. Dialogue should be conducted in a calm, constructive, and objective manner. It should involve negotiations, which include concessions by all parties. Democracy gives rise to the legitimacy of the ballot, but this legitimacy is not absolute. After rising to power, one needs to gain the legitimacy of accomplishments, which is the most important. The transitional stage that we are witnessing today in the Arab world may be just a point in history. But building a deeply-rooted and viable democracy, which is firmly planted in our heritage, our history, our principles and our values – this will take generations. It must take its time.

[...]

I am no expert in politics, but I know one thing: The polarization, growing tension, and incitement prevailing in the Arab world do not benefit anybody, but harm everybody. We are not in some zero-sum game, in which there is a winner and a loser. From the situation we are in today, either we will all emerge as winners, or else we will all drown together. Nobody will win at the expense of others.

In my view, the greatest threat facing the Arab world today is that of being torn apart from within, through disintegration into secondary identities. Many people say that what is happening in the Arab world today is the result of an external conspiracy. [The idea that Jews are conspiring to split the Arab world is a popular one in the Arabic media - EoZ]
[...]

The stereotypical image of Islam prevailing today is, I'm sad to say, that it is a religion of hatred and violence and that all the Muslims are terrorists. This is a serious problem, which we must not ignore. It breeds fear and suspicion of the Muslims, and also encourages prejudice and bias toward them. We must take this seriously because this image is as far from the truth as can be.

For the millions of Muslims worldwide, Islam is a religion of humanitarian values and of the principles of goodness. We need to try to highlight this image of Islam. Whenever we hear about or see someone we love being hurt, we rush to his defense. So what about our religion – a religion that is a part of our identity, or our very being, of our moral values, of the way we interacts with one another? It is the religion on which we grew up and on which we raise our children. Does it not deserve our defense?

[...]

Without a doubt, there is ignorance regarding Islam, and there are affronts. But when we talk about affronts, we should be honest with ourselves, and look at what is happening in various places in the world, where the affronts and violence are perpetrated in the name of Islam.

Unfortunately, this violence strengthens the stereotypical image of Islam. Islam, along with all the monotheistic religions, is built upon compassion.

[...]

The religious discourse that we hear so loud today has fallen hostage to fatwas of takfir, of fanaticism, and of ideological closed-mindedness, as well as to calls for extremism, for hatred, and for sectarian strife. What ever happened to the language of compassion? With the discourse, we harm ourselves much more than the West harms us. We must return to the essence of our religion. We must speak loud and clear in defending our religion. When we see people distorting the image of our religion...

A few months ago, for example, we saw a man who calls himself a Muslim killing an innocent man in Britain, grabbing his decapitated head, and saying: "This is for the nation." What nation?!

We must renounce things like that. We must denounce this loudly, not cautiously. We should do so not in order to improve our image in the West, but because we owe this to our religion.
Queen Rania should immediately be appointed the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Oh, I forgot...she's a woman.

(h/t Yoel)