King Abdullah of Jordan has been named as the 2018 Templeton Prize Laureate for his work promoting religious harmony within Islam and between Islam and other faiths.
The annual award was established in 1972 by British entrepreneur Sir John Templeton to those who have “made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension”.
Previous winners of the prize have included Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.
King Abdullah has led “a reclamation of Islam’s moderate theological narrative from the distortions of radicalism”, since his accession to the Hashemite throne in 1999, the award givers said.
The award givers paid special tribute to the King’s work in promoting peace-affirming Islam in the wake of the Iraq war.
“King Abdullah offers the world the true definition of a spiritual entrepreneur, a person shaped by temporal and political responsibilities, yet who holds both the belief and free expression of religion as among humankind’s most important callings,” Heather Templeton Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation said.
Upon accepting his prize, King Abdullah called on the world to “confront challenges to our shared humanity and values”.
He said: “I am especially moved by this prize-giving, because I feel it as a true hand of friendship to all those who share in the work for tolerance and mutual respect — my fellow Jordanians, Muslim and Christian, and Muslim men and women around the world, 1.8 billion people, who play a vital role in humanity’s progress and future.”