Jordan’s King Abdullah said Tuesday the world was engaged in a battle against extremism as his country takes part in US-led air strikes on Islamic State jihadists in Syria.
“All countries in the world are witnessing a war between moderation and extremism, and today Islam is plagued by a civil war,” Abdullah told a meeting of Jordanian lawmakers.
“Unfortunately, we as Arabs and Muslims have not seen this to such an extent before,” he added.
Jordan is one of five Arab States — along with Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — taking part in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, where the jihadist group is headquartered.
Sharing a border with Syria and conflict-hit Iraq has provoked fears that Jordan, which is grappling with its own home-grown Islamists, could be targeted by IS revenge attacks.
“Jordan’s participation… in the war on terrorism is within the framework of protecting its interests and consolidating its security faced with the chaos in neighbouring states and throughout the region,” Abdullah said.
The Hashemite ruler said the fight to defeat extremism would take “several years” even once military action against IS wound up.
Abdullah said extremism was not unique to Islam, adding that it existed in aspects of Israeli politics and “everywhere” in the Middle East.
The king said Jordan was well situated to “protect not only Muslims facing danger but also Christians who have been subjected to a catastrophe in Syria and Iraq”.
The UN refugee agency said in July it expects the number of Syrian refugees in Jordan to reach 800,000 by the end of this year.