At the New York City Police Department
New York, US
8 December 2003
Officers and friends of the NYPD,
Thank you very much. And thank you, Mayor Bloomberg – and may I thank all New Yorkers – for your warm welcome. You know, two years ago, terrorists tried to destroy the heart of this city. Not its buildings – its spirit, New York's openness and fearlessness. My friends, people around the world watched you stand fast, and hold together, and get to work to rebuild. That spirit is the ultimate victory, and it's a victory that inspires people everywhere.
Commissioner Kelly, Chief Esposito, I am delighted to be here again, and allow me to tell you how much I appreciate the hospitality your department has shown to me and my delegation. It's great to meet the men and women who have played such an important part in New York's success. I am grateful to all of you for taking time from your busy schedules to be here.
But I can truly say that you are not here because of me; I am here because of you. The 39,000 men and women of the NYPD are key players in a global fight against terror and for justice. That mission, our common mission, is what I'd like to talk about today.
The entire world honours the 23 officers of this Department who gave their lives in the 9/11 attacks. And I know that many more took huge risks in the rescue effort, to save others. They are heroes, but I'd like to say, they are not the only heroes. Thousands of New York police are on the beat today, to keep people safe, to promote tolerance and fairness, and the rule of law… and to help make New York the great city that it is. My friends, you are all heroes.
And may I also say that as heroes, you are not alone. I am deeply proud of the work being done by Jordan's own men and women in uniform. Our police are living up to the highest levels of professionalism and bravery, to help safeguard our people and future. Jordan is also training more than 30,000 Iraqi police officers, to help our neighbours stabilise their country and move it forward to normality and self-government.
The fact is that wherever violence is allowed to cripple civil society, freedom and opportunity are crippled as well. That is just as destructive in a city neighbourhood as in a global network of nations.
Today, extremists often claim to act on behalf of justice or faith. But their real goals have nothing to do with these noble causes. They seek power, achieved through violence. And Jordanians, like Americans, have paid the price. This year, terror bombings in Saudi Arabia and Iraq killed innocent Jordanians – adults and children alike. And these are just the latest terrorist acts to bring grief into our homes.
I carry the name of my great-grandfather, Abdullah I, who was assassinated by an extremist. My father was just 15 at the time. He was hit by a bullet in the attack. But he survived, and I'm proud to say he became a great peacemaker – His late Majesty King Hussein. He taught me and millions of others that true peace, true justice, requires us to resist the forces of destruction.
Today, we – your country and mine, and all the friends of peace – face a real challenge. Not only to defeat the forces of terror. But to keep creating what we believe in: just, tolerant, and open societies that are rich with opportunity and promise. That means helping to build a world of shared safety and confidence …to promote respect for human rights … and to ensure that all people have access to this century's promise. These are the foundations for lasting peace and stability.
Peace and justice are American values, I know. But I want you to know that they are also profoundly Islamic values. From its earliest days, my religion has called on its believers to lead lives of tolerance and good will. Our faith commands us to practice justice, mercy and respect for others. These ideals were taught to me in my youth, they guide my work today, and I am passing them on to my children for tomorrow.
I trained and served as a soldier. And of course I learned the Geneva Conventions. Long before these conventions, and way back in the 7th century, Muslim soldiers were given strict rules of conduct to protect civilians.
Even today, most Muslim schoolchildren learn a famous speech by Abu Bakr – the first successor of our Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him. The speech commands integrity; forbids the killing of innocents of any faith; and bans destruction. It says: “Do not betray, do not deceive, do not bludgeon and maim, do not kill a child, nor a woman, nor an old man. … Do not burn; do not cut down a fruit tree. If you come across communities who have consecrated themselves to the Christian Church, leave them.” No one can learn these words and believe that the slaughter of innocents is sanctioned by our faith.
In fact, the vast majority of the world's one billion Muslims are people of peace. We are horrified to see our religion exploited by terrorists. And we are speaking out about the true Islam, an Islam of tolerance and diversity. The moderate majority of Muslims cannot and will not be a silent majority.
But it is also essential that Islam be better understood in the West. Misunderstanding and division between our peoples is only to the advantage of the extremists. And the extremists know that. They are working hard to provoke a clash between civilisations. We must refuse to let that happen.
Put another way, the good guys need to work together as effectively as the bad guys do. Terrorist networks are organised on a global level. They know how to cooperate and stay focused on their objectives. Now, more than ever, the friends of peace need to understand each other and work together, at every level.
I understand that the NYPD has made a strong effort to reach out to the Arab-American and Muslim communities in this city. This is tremendously important. Every time you protect a family from discrimination, or guard a mosque against an ignorant hate crime; every time you reject stereotypes; every time you open the doors to positive community dialogue, you move the front lines of justice forward.
And I thank every one of you who is helping to build a future of justice and peace.
Your country and mine have a strong strategic relationship; part of a significant global alliance, and it is succeeding. But as Jordanians fight against terror, we are also working to deliver on the promise of peace, moderation and freedom.
Jordanians and Americans have much in common. We want opportunity and security for our families. We respect the rule of law. And we desire peace, with our neighbours, and with all nations.
Indeed, from my nation's soil, the Levant, grew the three great faiths of our common culture: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This universal diffusion of values and beliefs has powered civilisations across the world. It is a legacy of the deepest human spirit, a spirit that celebrates brotherhood and upholds the promise of a better tomorrow.
To me, to all Jordanians, achieving this promise is not an option. It is a responsibility and a duty. The friends of peace face a mighty challenge. But together, I know we will succeed.
Thank you very much.