His Majesty King Abdullah II's Interview with Jordan News Agency, Petra

12 November 2005

His Majesty King Abdullah on Saturday said that Jordan will not permit terrorists to divide Jordanians and Iraqis.

Iraqis living in Jordan, he said, are “dear brothers” who live in dignity in Jordan, their second homeland. “Their security is our security and we will not accept that any harm should come to them,” he said.

In an interview with the Jordan News Agency, Petra, King Abdullah warned that no one should exploit the Wednesday's terrorist acts to harm Jordanian-Iraqi relations and said that Jordan will continue to be a safe haven for every Iraqi who is forced, by circumstances in Iraq, to come and live in Jordan.

The King said that counter-terrorism efforts should include confronting those who justify terror or incite others to commit acts of terror. Those who incite and justify terrorism and those who actually commit acts of terror are equally guilty for the crime, he said.

The King told Petra that any individual, group or party that justifies terrorism, that advocates violence against innocents or that defends such acts and ideas is unacceptable.

The monarch praised the rapid reaction of those who responded to the attacks, which killed 57 people and injured scores. “Their response was excellent,” he said. “I would like to thank again every member of the security apparatus, the civil defense and the medical community who helped evacuate the injured.”

“I know very well the courage of Jordanians, and their response to these events has exceeded all expectations,” he said. “Jordanians are fearless, and terrorism will not affect their morale or their determination. The entire world saw them sweep through the streets in anger to challenge terrorists.”

King Abdullah said that Jordan would not be prevented from proceeding with its march towards development and openness by terrorism.
Jordan's motto, he said, is “law, openness and security”. He added that the crime will not force Jordan to become a police state, because Jordanians do not want to live in a police state. Instead, he said, Jordan would seek a balance between freedom and security that reassures both Jordanians and their guests.

The King said the terrorist attacks were a turning point for Jordanians in dealing with supporters of and sympathizers with terrorism. Jordanians, he said, took a stand against terrorism, responding to the attacks with a "firm no" when they rallied to demonstrate their outrage at terror and terrorists.

The monarch said a war is ongoing between the majority of Muslims who believe in the true essence of Islam and a misguided group who distort its principles, undermine the image of Muslims and destroy our civilization.

“We have seen the results of what the terrorists perpetrated in Amman,” he said. “We saw dismembered children and women - Jordanians and Jordan's guests. Is there any Jordanian, Arab or Muslim who, after that day, can justify these crimes?”

King Abdullah said Jordan, its people, security, stability and achievements were the targets of the attacks. These attacks, he said, targeted Jordan, its message, its culture and Islam in equal measure. He said that terrorists empty Islam of its very meaning every time they kill a child, a woman or any innocent person. All their acts, he stressed, are crimes that contradict the principles of Islam, a faith of tolerance and moderation that eschews violence and extremism.

He explained that the most appropriate response to terrorism would be for Jordanians to strive for solidarity and excellence while denouncing extremists and their supporters.

He pointed out that Jordan is not the only victim of terrorism, saying that "the dismembered bodies that we saw in Amman is a scene we also witnessed in Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco and other countries of the world."

He added that fighting terrorism is the responsibility of the entire international community.

Jordan, he said, “will not be lenient with terrorists, and we will bring them to justice." He added that Jordan would not hold truck with anyone promoting takfiri ideology. "We will enhance our national counter-terror strategy, and we hope each citizen would be an active partner in this so that we abort terrorists' plots and expose their evil intentions."

King Abdullah emphasized that takfiris "have no place among us" and said that freedom of speech in Jordan should be used to promote love and respect for others, tolerance and justice and to disseminate Arab Islamic values vis-à-vis hatred, violence and terrorism.

Jordan, he said, is for all its citizens, and "we will support any effort to entrench the concepts of justice, equality and respect for others' opinions under the umbrella of the Jordanian Constitution, from which we will accept no deviations."

In response to whether or not the deteriorating regional situation has encouraged terrorism, King Abdullah said, “While violence and bloodshed, as well as the frustration many people feel may seem to give terrorists an opening to justify their criminal acts, I wonder what that has to do with the killing of innocent people.”

The King asked, “Who benefits from killing a creative person like world-renowned director Mustafa Al-Akkad, who has introduced many people in the world to the true values of our religion though his movie, ‘The Message'? And what good can come from killing innocent people and children celebrating the wedding of a relative or from murdering guests passing by Jordan or working here?”

The monarch said that Jordan will not permit terrorists to impose their agenda on Jordan. Nor, he said, will terrorism force Jordan to alter its strategy or its position towards Iraq and Palestine.

“We want to see an independent Palestinian state and a unified, secure, strong Iraq as soon as possible,” he said. “I also want to assure the Iraqis among us that they are among family. We will not allow Zarqawi or any other terrorist to create division or dissention among us. Jordan will continue to be the safe haven of Iraqis.”

“Terrorists don't want us to be united; we answer that Jordanians and Iraqis are one family that cannot be broken,” he said.

He said that Iraqis and Palestinians are among those who were most outraged over Wednesday's events, and that Iraqis and Palestinians had also been killed in the attacks. He said they stand with Jordanians in confronting terrorism, along with the rest of the Arab world and Jordan's friends in the international community.

“Jordan is not alone in fighting this scourge,” he said.

King Abdullah expressed confidence in Jordan's security services that, he said, work tirelessly with the highest sense of professionalism and responsibility.

On Wednesday night, the terrorists chose the easiest target, he said, adding that although terrorists, particularly Al-Qaeda elements, did manage to spill the blood of innocents once, they have already realized, on more than one occasion, the security services' ability to abort their plots.

King Abdullah said that the security services are gathering evidence and analyzing data, and that the bodies of the attackers have been identified and will be used to determine their identities, but that it is still to soon to announce the full details of the investigation.

However, he said, the investigation has revealed that the Zarqawi network altered its tactics in this attack. In operations previously aborted by Jordanian security services, the group had recruited Jordanians, but this time had depended on non-Jordanians.

He said that the investigation so far has shown that the perpetrators were three suicide bombers carrying explosive belts containing shrapnel in order to cause as many fatalities and injuries as possible.