by Samir Nouri, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
A Speech by H.E. Ambassador Samir Nouri at Autumn Grand Festival in commemoration of the Foundress on Monday, November 6, 2006
President of Oomoto, the Reverend Yasumi Hirose and the Spiritual Leader of Oomoto, Madame Kurenai Deguch Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset I would like to express my sincerest thanks and gratitude for inviting me to join you today at this august gathering in the beautiful city of Ayabe.
I am also grateful to have this chance to speak to this distinguished congregation about my country Jordan, its people and the role it plays within its region of the world.
I have noticed since I came to Japan that when you speak about “Asia” and “Asian,” you only refer to East and South Asia.
My country, Jordan, is also in Asia, at the other tip of West Asia, as Japan is at the tip of East Asia.
As we made the distances between us nowadays shorter and more comfortable travelling by airplanes, we must remember that the ancient merchants and travellers used the Silk Road to link the two parts of Asia.
I have been told that your Co-Founder, Onisaburo Deguchi, understood the broader geography of Asia. He once set out for Mongolia and hoped to continue across Asia to Jerusalem.
So I think Oomoto people understand that Asia ends at the Mediterranean Sea.
Jordan is a small country with a population of 5.5 million and an area of 92,000 square kilometres.
About 80% of the area of Jordan consists of arid desert with little resources, yet it is rich in historical heritage that dates back thousands of years.
The remains of older cultures and ruins of old kingdoms that grew and vanished on Jordanian Territories are in abundance everywhere you go. Petra is a beautiful ancient city and a unique World Cultural Heritage with its beautiful buildings all engraved into the rosy rocky mountains.
The Dead Sea, a unique spot at the lowest point on earth below sea level, is another unique feature of Jordan with its heavy water, richin salt and minerals that have great healing characteristics for the skin. It is the only sea where you can enjoy reading a newspaper while lying on your back on the water.
It is said that you can choose your friends but you cannot choose your neighbours. My country Jordan is located in a very difficult and tense area, at the heart of an area rich in cultural heritage,history and mineral resources especially oil, which we do not have yet.
Yet Jordan, like Japan, takes pride in its biggest asset and richness, its people, who could achieve a high level of education and utilize it to make progress in all fields to improve the living standards and to enable them to actively participate in building their own country as well as in helping other countries in the region and beyond.
On the political sphere, Jordan is also trying to play a constructive role in efforts to build peace and security in the region under very trying times.
Jordan finds itself in close proximity to a very tense situation in the surrounding areas.
As such, we are trying our best to find peaceful solutions for the problems around us while keeping Jordan itself an oasis of peace and security for its people and for the guests who come to visit or reside in for various purposes.
Jordan, under the wise and visionary leadership of His Majesty the late King Hussein Bin Talal and His Majesty King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein, tried and is still trying to give active assistance to the international efforts to find a peaceful settlement for the Arab-Israeli conflict in general, and on the Palestinian-Israeli track in particular.
We do firmly believe that peace based on justice and sound understanding will reflect itself in creating a more prosperous future for all peoples in the area which is not only rich in resources, but also rich in historical and cultural heritage, that can also contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world.
We do believe that peace is not only for our future generations but we need it now, for our own generation, too.
The efforts of the late King Hussein were recognized worldwide when more than 90 Heads of States from all over the world came to Jordan to participate in his funeral in February, 1999.
The efforts of His Majesty King Abdullah and the role played by Jordan are also highly recognized nowadays. We, in Jordan, will continue to play an active and positive role along that path.
In a world which is currently suffering as a result of acts carried out by extremists on all sides, Jordan is also exerting efforts to oppose extremism and to adhere to and call for moderation.
Jordan hosted several conferences of religious dignitaries from all over the world, to present the true call of Islamic religion which preaches moderation, tolerance and peaceful coexistence among various peoples and followers of different religions, to face the extremist interpretations.
The Amman Message adopted in November 2004 by International Islamic scholars and religious leaders meeting in a conference held in Amman represented a very important landmark in that respect, in rejecting extremism as a deviation from Islam.。
Jordan is also playing a role in the interfaith dialogue, of which your organization is a very active member.
In 1999, Jordan also hosted World Conference of Religions for Peace(WCRP) , of which your organization is a member, too.
We are proud and honoured in Jordan that the Hashemite Royal Family are direct descendents of the Prophet Mohammed.
We do firmly believe that religions in general, which touch the soul and deep spirit of every human being, purify it and spiritually carry it to a higher level and fill it with peace and tranquilly, should lead the effort to intensify the bonds that bring all people together, and not to separate and destroy each other under any pretext.
Once again, and before concluding my remarks, allow me to extend my highest respect to you, the Reverend Hirose, Madam Deguchi and to the Oomoto Foundation for the sincere efforts they carry out along the paths of creating better relations among various people with various beliefs to contribute in any way possible to paving the route of international peace and tranquillity with good intentions and good feelings.
Thank you very much.