Democracy and Human Rights

The Need for Openness and Dynamism

We have to build a civic democratic society, and the government should be open to all political parties and interact with them, exchanging consultation and advice about the nation’s affairs. We should not surprise the public with major decisions without ample preparation, and without studying their different aspects. We want to see constructive dialogue serving as our civilized approach in the various forms of the media and the press. The government should set the example in this, thwarting attempts on the part of those wishing to harm freedom and aborting attempts of those who try to cause damage to the nation's stability.

Letter of Designation to Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh
August 19, 1998


God help us from those who believe that they are the sole possessors of truth. How we manage at times to agree willingly to become prisoners within our own minds and souls of beliefs and ideas on which we can never be flexible.

How can we resolve problems if we do not place ourselves in the position of others with whom we have problems? How can we move ahead if we do not have mutual respect for each other, and stemming from it, trust? How can we move ahead if we do not have a common objective that we are committed to reach? These are questions that are in the minds of many in our part of the world at this time.

Address to Representatives of the German Media
Baden Baden, Germany
April 24, 1998


It is from here that the need arises for a revision of the current educational and cultural programs in a manner that befits a modern state. We have enough self-confidence, attachment to our roots, purity of culture, and humanity in our national and religious values to protect us from blowing winds. Identity diminishes and disappears with isolation and seclusion. Personality is reduced and deformed with depleted thoughts and stagnant mind. Thus a stagnant culture rusts and is lost. The bright image of Islam with its values, moderation, centrism, keenness for human dignity, and creation of the concept of Shura and dialogue, will always be our source of pride. It is our means to convince the world that we Arabs and Muslims are far from fanaticism, that we love peace and prosperity, and that we are real partners in the making of human civilization.

Speech from the Throne
Opening of the Thirteenth Parliament
November 29, 1997


Modernity, and keeping apace with our times, does not mean denying our principles or rescinding them. Isolationism, fanaticism and immobility do not, in any way, mean constancy and devotion to a cause, and sacrificing for it. The first condition for commitment is freedom of choice and acceptance of this choice. Freedom requires all to respect the principle of pluralism, and to distance themselves from the confiscation of the freedom of others, or their right to express their convictions and ideas. Freedom means that we should disabuse ourselves of the notion that one party can claim an exclusive monopoly over truth, or to impose its ideology and its will over others, under any pretext.

Address to the Meeting of Arab Political Parties
December 16, 1996


It (democracy in Jordan) is aimed at enhancing the spirit of dialogue, respecting the opinion of others and being open to knowledge and learning rather than being self-enclosed—without foregoing any of our values or principles and without locking ourselves up in a confined cell whose thick curtains serve only to close the avenues of hope and keep the rays of the sun. Also, without any claim to uniqueness of vision or a proprietary hold on truth, and with no shuttering of our ears, eyes and hearts against the pulsing world and life around us; no severance of ties with the rest of the world or with God's other creatures; without ignoring the efforts going on apace to establish a new world order but understanding the circumstances of its growth as well as interacting with it and enriching it through working from within as a service to ourselves and our nation, so that it does not become a reality whilst we have no say or influence on its content and its possible effect on us.

Address to the Nation
October 12, 1993


I don’t believe that we can hold back once whilst the world is moving forwards, and I believe we will see movements for a real change bringing about democracy, respect for human rights, popular participation in government everywhere, and I warn and I have warned that the impression that many may have of this Arab world and the Arab people as a people who are unable to move, or paralyzed, or comatose—this may be an impression that is a wrong one. I believe that sooner or later there will be a reaction and hopefully people will take heed of that and move forward as they ought to.

Interview with BBC Radio 4
June 5, 1992


Foremost, what is needed is a comprehensive and realistic perception of the reality of our situation and of the challenges that face us every day, regardless of our size and location. We shall not be saved, nor shall we gain anything by closing our eyes to what is happening around us, and how it affects us. We live in an age of science and technology, and in a world of mutual interests. We live in the age of the quest for a better life, where human dignity and human rights are respected.

Address to the Jordanian National Congress
June 9, 1991