In the time of terrorism and crisis, one extraordinary man’s persistent effort to bring about global peace and harmony deserves recognition. Undaunted by bickering between Christians and Muslims, this man continues to urge his fellow Muslims and even non-Muslims that a dialogue is a key to understanding one another and to have lasting peace. He continues to call on his fellow Muslims to exercise religious tolerance and to reach out to non-Muslims.He is indeed a man of peace. This man is the King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He is King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz is the present King of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He ascended to the thrown on August 1, 2005, upon the death of King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. On that day, Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was proclaimed the Sixth King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He also concurrently serves as the Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers, Commander of the National Guard and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was born in 1924 in Riyadh. As a young boy, he found solace in the comfort of his books and he loved to read. His father and early education at the royal court were very significant influences as he was growing up. He grew up to become a man who has a strong respect for religion, history, and Arab heritage. Among his influence is the Bedouin as he spent time with them in the desert. They taught him the importance of values such as honor, simplicity, generosity, and bravery. The Bedouin tribe also taught him the passion to develop and improve his people. As a young man, he manifested curiosity about the things that happen in his environment. Thus, he is very familiar with the events that happen inside the Kingdom. His extensive knowledge of the real conditions inside the Kingdom proved to be very valuable in managing the internal affairs when he assumed his office.
In 1962, he was appointed Head of the National Guard by King Faisal Ibn Abdulaziz. As head of this organization, Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz began to modernize the National Guard and equipped it with the latest in technology. His achievements were quickly noticed such that by 1975 he was later on appointed as the Second Deputy Premier Minister. Upon assumption of office of King Fahd, Prince Abdullah was chosen as the Crown Prince and the First Deputy Prime Minister.
As Crown Prince, he saw to it that he is able to travel to Western countries to ensure that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is well-represented in the global community and to ensure that the Kingdom’s leadership role in the defense of Arab countries, Islamic issues, and achievement of world peace, stability and security are recognized. Among the countries he has visited are China, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, US, Britain, and France, among others.
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz remains vocal about his views on terrorism and violence. He condemns terrorism and any act of taking of innocent lives. He also denounces groups that utilize violence in the guise of protecting Islam. He also aspires that everyone will cooperate to put a stop to terrorism. His effort to stop terrorism and promote international cooperation has actually been recognized even in Asia. According to the Manila Times, a newspaper of national circulation in the Philippines, the President of the Philippines’ attendance at the Special United Nationals General Assembly on Interfaith Dialogue to discuss peace and her endorsement to the UN was the first since it was started by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz who was recognized to be at “forefront of efforts to promote global peace and economy.”
His condemnation of terrorism is apparent in his letter to former President Bush. On the second year after the 9/11 attack, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz wrote a letter to President George W. Bush expressing his dreams for a better, more peaceful and more prosperous world, to wit:
"God Almighty, in His wisdom, tests the faithful by allowing such calamities to happen. But He, in His mercy, also provides us with the will and determination, generated by faith, to enable us to transform such tragedies into great achievements, and crises that seem debilitating are transformed into opportunities for the advancement of humanity. I only hope that, with your cooperation and leadership, a new world will emerge out of the rubble of the World Trade Center: a world that is blessed by the virtues of freedom, peace, prosperity and harmony.”
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz is also considered one of the richest men in the world today with a net worth of $21 billion. In September 2008, he was recognized as the third richest man in the world after King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of UAE.
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, however, puts this great fortune to good use. Aside from his fight for peace and international cooperation, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz is also known for his philanthropic activities. In 2005, the King funded and sponsored the surgery of the Polish conjoined twins that took place at the King Abdulaziz Medical City. Despite several medical complications and the little chance of success, the conjoined twins were eventually separated after twenty-one hours of operations. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz also established two big libraries which manifest how important reading is for him- the King Abdulaziz Public Library in Riyadh and its sister library in Morocco.
There are people who walk on this Earth without even causing a ripple in the sea of life. On the other hand, there are people who took advantage of the blessings life has given them to create a tsunami in the sea of life. I can say that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz is a person who has influenced and inspired so many persons.He has created so much impact in my life. He continues to inspire me to become a good person. He continues to make me believe that it is possible for the whole humanity to achieve peace. I do hope that Muslims and Christians alike will heed the call for unity and cooperation.
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