Today is:

Acceptance speech of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal for the Freedom of Worship Award, Four Freedoms Awards Ceremony, 2014.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Your Majesties; Your Royal Highnesses; members of the Roosevelt family; excellencies; board members of the Roosevelt Foundation; fellow laureates; distinguished guests:

It is a very great honour to receive this prestigious award - and especially on the day that His Holiness Pope Francis arrives in my country, Jordan. The Holy Land is home to Jews, Christians and Muslims, a testament to freedom of worship and a shared heritage of illumination flowering millennia ago.

Allow me, as a Muslim, to quote from the Holy Quran:

There shall be no compulsion in religion (2:256).

Freedom of worship is a fundamental human right; without it other freedoms, including the basic right to dignity and respect, cannot surely be upheld. It is intrinsic to our understanding of self and to the creation of strong, stable, pluralist communities. In its absence, not only is the rule of law undermined, but also the very possibility of creating legitimate democracies.


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