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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

King, Queen in Netherlands

European Muslims should be active in public life – King

(Royal Hashemite Court, Communication & Information Division - Amsterdam) Muslims living in Europe should take an active role in society, King Abdullah said Tuesday.
 
“One does not need to sacrifice a Muslim identity to be a good citizen,” King Abdullah said at Amsterdam City Hall while on a state visit to the Netherlands.
 
“Islam calls on people to be active participants in public life, to uphold the welfare of the community, to strive for good, not for ourselves alone, but for all — Muslim and non-Muslim alike,” he said.
 
“According to Islamic law, in countries like those of Europe, where Muslims enjoy equal justice and the freedom to practice their religion — and even to express it in the public domain — they must abide by the laws of the lands in which they live,” King Abdullah said.
 
He added that “millions and millions do”.
 
Full text of His Majesty's speech
 
The King later held talks with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende on means to enhance cultural and economic ties.
 
During the meeting, King Abdullah and Balkenende discussed “the urgent issue of peace in the Middle East”.
 
“This continuing conflict is, far and away, the most serious threat to the stability and future of my entire region. Every delay lets the situation grow worse,” the King said.
 
He urged “concerted international action, to get the parties moving forward”.
 
“We need to be very clear about the goal: Positive, concrete steps, leading to a just, legal settlement that will hold for the long-term.”
 
The King cited the Arab Peace Initiative as the basis of the envisioned solution — “a two-state solution, based on international legality, with a viable, independent Palestine state that can offer hope to its people, and a secure Israel that lives in peace with all its neighbours”.
 
“Reform is a process, not a one-step solution,” he said. 
 
“It takes involvement and commitment of people throughout society. As we have moved forward, we have engaged the private sector and civil society. I am pleased to say our efforts are beginning to deliver results.”
 
For his part, Balkenende praised King Abdullah’s efforts to enhance interfaith and intercultural dialogue, voicing his country’s support for Jordan. He also called for a solution to the Middle East conflict through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state that lives peacefully side by side with a secure Israel.
 
Earlier Tuesday, the King laid a wreath at a national monument in Amsterdam honouring Dutch victims of World War II.