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Jordan's King Abdullah: Moderate Muslims Reclaiming Faith from Violent Extremists

Jordan's King Abdullah says moderate Muslims are reclaiming their faith from violent extremists who are trying to hijack their religion to justify violence.

King Abdullah spoke on the campus of the Catholic University of America a day after meeting with Pope Benedict at his summer residence outside Rome.

He used the setting to say far too many people in Western and Muslim countries believe there is, or will be, a clash of civilizations.

The Jordanian king says terrorists do not speak for the Islamic faith.

"The ultimate goal is to take back our religion from the vocal, violent, and ignorant extremists who have tried to hijack Islam over the last hundred years. They do not speak for Islam any more than a Christian terrorist speaks for Christianity and the real voices of our faiths will be and must be heard," said King Abdullah.

King Abdullah says history has shown that all religions have faced problems with radical elements that want conflicts to occur.

He says instead of religious tension and hostility, people of all faiths need to work together for an open world that can bring a better life and freedom to billions of people.

"Another critical effort is faith-based action,” he added. “History shows that at one time or another, all religions have faced extremists who abuse the power of faith. But moral leadership cannot be hijacked. Today traditional, moderate, orthodox Muslims are reclaiming our Islam, Islam as it has been taught and practiced for over a thousand years - a religion of tolerance, wisdom and charity."

King Abdullah says governments in both the West and the Islamic world have insisted repeatedly that the West and Islam are not at war.

He says responsible leaders have denounced hatred and violence.

The king also mentioned the devastation along the U.S Gulf Coast caused by Hurricane Katrina, saying that all people need to recognize their deepest shared values and resolve problems by pragmatic solutions among people of good will.

"We were tragically reminded of this by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina,” he noted. “We are all in God's hands and together we are called to a common duty to help, to share, to comfort and heal, to build a better future for every person on our earth."

King Abdullah made his remarks shortly before heading to New York for a summit at the United Nations. He is also expected to meet with Muslim and Jewish leaders during his trip to the United States.