- Community Empowerment
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Queen Rania to ABC News: “Nothing can possibly justify the taking of innocent lives of ordinary people”
Good morning, everyone. We'll get to our election roundup with all four Congressional campaign chairs in a moment, but we begin with this week's triple bombing in Amman, and our headliner, Queen Rania of Jordan. And Queen Rania, let me begin by offering our condolences and prayers for your loss.
Queen Rania: Thank you very much, George, I appreciate that.
We learned today that police have arrested a woman who was part of this plot. Were you surprised that a woman was prepared to be a suicide bomber?
Queen Rania: …What does surprise me is the nature of these acts, the fact that they could walk into a wedding and target innocent civilians celebrating, killing women, children, and innocent families. I think this kind of terror knows no gender. It knows no nationality, no geography, no religion, no race, no color. Whether it's a man or a woman I think is irrelevant, what nationality, where they come from is irrelevant. The fact that they are able to commit such atrocities is what really shocks me.
I know you believe that whether she was a man or a woman is irrelevant and I understand that, but if you had the chance to sit down with her before the bombing, how would you try to talk her out of it?
Queen Rania: Well, first of all, I'd try to understand where she's coming from. You know, what kind of ideology is this? This ideology of extremism and hatred. This is the thing that we have to really challenge in our part of the world and in every part of the world, in fact, because as you know, extremism exists everywhere and we have to try to confront this ideology, challenge it, understand what are they thinking and trying to really explain to her once again just the basics of humanity, the sanctity of human life, the respect for the other, the fact that you can not -- nothing can possibly justify the taking of innocent lives of ordinary people, of children, that we have to commute on our common humanity, this is our common ground.
You and your husband King Abdullah have been very courageous in speaking out against this extremism, but the Jordanian people according to recent polls have shown some support for suicide bombing and for Osama bin Laden, at least before these most recent bombings in Amman. Do you think that these bombings will convince your people to rise up and say, enough is enough?
Queen Rania: I believe that our people have always been convinced that terrorism is not the right way. Let me just say that these bombs were not against Jordan. They were not against Jordanian policy, they were against people, ordinary people were taken. Their lives were taken. These were hard-working, innocent people enjoying a night out, you know, celebrating a wedding. So we have to make it very, very clear that this is not the targeting of a country or a policy…, and I believe that the Jordanian people feel that whenever a country is occupied, the people have a right to gain their freedom. However, I am -- I can -- I can be -- I'm very sure that the Jordanian people do not believe that the taking of innocent lives will justify an armed struggle and fighting for one's freedom, so, and all you have to do is look on the Jordanian streets. People have taken -- people from all walks of life have taken to the street to demonstrate their unity, their fearless rejection of this ideology of extremism and hatred and their fight for freedom. Their unwavering commitment to, to peace in our region.
Queen Rania, I know you've been especially focused on the issue of education and young people and we learned that these suicide bombers today are in their early 20s. How do you prevent young Muslims from getting swept up in this cause and believing they're killing in the name of God?
Queen Rania: Well, you know, we have to understand that this is an ideological war. It's mind-set against mind-set. It's no longer the traditional enemy that is defined by boundaries. It is, these are mental boundaries, so I think it starts with education from a very, very young age. We have to reach out to our children, teach them the right values, the sanctity of human life, acceptance of the other, the fact that diversity is enriching. I always tell my children how boring would it be if we all worshipped in the same way, if we all thought the same way, if we all lived our lives in the same way? There would be nothing to learn from each other. In addition to all of that, I think it's important to, to challenge and confront this ideology of hate by offering an alternative ideology. And this is what we have done in Jordan through the Amman message where we are showing that -- we're trying to reclaim the true -- the true Islam, the Islam of tolerance, of respect for human life, of justice and peace, and this is a way of life that we have to make sure that we propagate and that we really make sure that everybody in our part of the world sees that there is an alternative to this very extreme ideology. And let me say that this is something that we have to do all over the world. You know, extremism exists everywhere. This for us was our 9/11. You know, when we say why did it happen to Jordan? Why did it happen to New York? Why Madrid, why London, you know, there is no rational explanation or justification for such crimes, and we have to combat them wherever they take place.
And what more can we here in the United States do to help you in that cause and to defeat this extremism?
Queen Rania: Well, we have to realize that we are all on the same side. That as I said, this is an ideological war, that in order to defeat this, we have to collaborate and cooperate as an international community. We have to bind together. You know, these, these terrorists, they think that by blowing us up and tearing us down that they can erode the ties that bind the civilized world. In fact, what they, what they should be -- what they should realize is that they bring us closer together. They are uniting us together in a much stronger way against terrorism and f