Queen Rania calls for "new global warming"

June 28, 2007

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Tallberg, Sweden) Speaking at the Tallberg Forum in Sweden, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah challenged the Western perceptions of Arab women, Islam and conflicts in the region, and warned "failure to appreciate the other side's point of view is a greater barrier to communication than speaking different languages".   The theme of this year's forum is "How on earth can we live together? Learn to live to learn". Much of the discussions of the three day forum will revolve around the dangers of climate change, the concept of which Queen Rania expanded on by calling for "a new global warming" towards cultures and communities. "We need to take a vocal stand against stereotyping and prejudice – and melt the mental barriers that distinguish 'us' from 'them'," she asserted. Expressing fear that many in the West equate Islam with acts of violence, Queen Rania emphasized that Islam is actually "a moral compass that emphasizes mercy, equality, charity, tolerance, and peace… Islam is under siege distorted by violent extremists from within and demonized from without. " Her Majesty also emphasized that most of the conflict in the Middle East is rooted in "the injustice, occupation, desperation, and decades of sadness and suffering -- most notably in Palestine where, after 50 years, the peace process is stumbling, while the humanitarian crisis is accelerating." Challenging the western view of Arab women as passive and oppressed, Queen Rania highlighted Arab women as "taking an ever-greater role in society… and, at the same time, because Arab culture venerates the family, a woman’s predominant role in the household is seen as a source of strength". Speaking on a very personal note, the Queen said, "For me, as a Muslim and a mother of four, the schism that worries me most is the growing gulf of perception and trust between the Muslim world and the West. The only people who benefit from our disunity are the extremists – the very forces who threaten the hopes we share for a better tomorrow". Her Majesty said, "All of us need to work harder to see one another's point of view – to appreciate how our varied perspectives color our sense of reality". Delivering the keynote address to an audience of over 1,000 attendees, including Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria; Princess Deema bint Turki bin Abdul Aziz Al Soud; Bo Ekman, Chairman of the Tallberg Foundation; and other high profile European personalities, Queen Rania warned, "the longer we wait to build genuine multicultural understanding, the more human nature will be degraded by ignorance, suspicion, and fear". Referring to the famous Earthrise photo captured from Apollo 8, in 1968, Queen Rania noted how we are all part of a "single global commons we were privileged to share." "I wish we could say that iconic photo was enough to inspire world peace. Regrettably, almost four decades later, the dream of peace has yet to be reached," she said as she urged the audience to look at the different perspectives of the world today and realize that what the world holds in common, far exceeds those differences. Many of Queen Rania's programs have focused on appreciating the various perspectives in the world, finding common ground and bridging the cultural divide between East and West because, she believes, "We are one human family, and co-inhabitants of one world". "We have no greater responsibility…. we have no greater moral duty" than to safeguard the earth's future, she reminded the audience. "You are planting the seeds of cross-cultural common ground – from which the Tallberg spirit can take root around the world. My challenge to you, in your time together, and once you take flight on the wind, is to help the values you celebrate here to flourish wherever you go," said the Queen.