[CUA Office of Public Affairs] 






Sept. 7, 2005


Jordanian Leader to Speak About

Reclaiming Moderate Islam at CUA Law School

WASHINGTON, D.C. – His Majesty King Abdullah II, monarch of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, will deliver an address: “Traditional Islam: The Path to Peace” at The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2005, in the law building’s William J. Byron, S.J. Auditorium.


The invitation-only event is open to media coverage.


The king’s remarks will build upon recent efforts to enhance understanding about the true tenets and teachings of Islam.  In July 2005, as a result of the International Islamic Conference hosted by King Abdullah II in Amman, more than 180 scholars representing 45 countries signed a final declaration unanimously condemning the practice known as takfir (calling others “apostates”) that is used by extremists to justify violence. The declaration also recognized the legitimacy of all eight of the traditional schools of Islamic religious law from the Sunni, Shi’i and Ibadi branches of Islam, and identified their common principles and beliefs. It defined the necessary qualifications and conditions for issuing fatwas (religious directives), contrasting them to the  illegitimacy of so-called fatwas justifying terrorism that are issued ‘outside’ of the traditional schools of Islamic religious law and in  violation of Islam’s core principles.


“We are deeply honored that the king accepted our invitation to come here to spread a message of peace and interfaith understanding,” said Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., president of The Catholic University of America. “Any dialogue that illuminates the common denominator among the moral principles held by all people is welcome and will always find a forum on our campus.”


The Sept. 13 lecture will be the only official address given by King Abdullah II during his two-day swing through Washington. En route to the United States, King Abdullah also will meet with Pope Benedict XVI to build on the relations that Jordan had established with Pope John Paul II, and to discuss ways in which Muslims and Christians can continue to work together for peace, tolerance and coexistence.


King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein assumed his constitutional powers as monarch of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on Feb. 7, 1999, the day his father, the late King Hussein, passed away. Born in Amman in 1962, he began his primary education at the Islamic Educational College in Amman and later attended private schools in England and America. Prior to his current position, King Abdullah II spent many years in the military holding various ranks, among them commander of the Royal Jordanian Special Forces and special operations commander.


Since his ascension to the throne, King Abdullah II has continued his late father's commitment to lead Jordan as a positive moderating force within the Arab region and the world. The married father of four children, King Abdullah II is a qualified frogman, pilot and a free-fall parachutist. His other interests include automobile racing, water sports, scuba diving and collecting ancient weapons and armaments.


The king’s address at CUA is an initiative of the Columbus School of Law’s Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Religion, which extended the invitation and arranged the king’s visit. The program was created to provide a forum for study, research and public discussion of issues arising at the nexus of law and religion.

A live Web cast of King Abdullah’s lecture will be available at www.law.edu.



Media Information

Coverage of this event is welcome but media representatives MUST contact the law school’s public affairs office to register and comply with security protocol for the king’s visit. Space inside the auditorium will be reserved only for media outlets that pre-register and is subject to availability. The Byron auditorium will open early on the morning of Sept. 13 for television news set-up. A mult box will be available. News outlets must supply their own power. Print reporters who pre-register are welcome to attend the speech; others may watch it live over the Internet at www.law.edu.


Broadcast news outlets must have equipment set up by 9 a.m. for security purposes.


Call law school public affairs director Tom Haederle (CUA) at 202-319-5438 or Merissa Khurma (press attache, Embassy of Jordan) at 202-265-1606 to reserve space for the event and to determine technical needs.




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The Catholic University of America, located in the heart of Washington, D.C., is unique as the national university of the Catholic Church in America. Founded in 1887 and chartered by Congress, the university opened as a graduate research institution. Undergraduate programs were introduced in 1904. Today the private and coeducational campus has approximately 6,100 undergraduate and graduate students from all states and 90 countries enrolled in 11 schools of architecture and planning, arts and sciences, canon law, engineering, law, library and information science, music, nursing, philosophy, social service, and theology and religious studies. 





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