AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan's king warned Tuesday that ethnic and sectarian violence sweeping across several Arab countries could lead to the "destruction" of the Muslim world.
Abdullah II's remarks came at a conference in the Jordanian capital of 100 religious scholars, both Sunni and Shiite, from 35 countries. Christian clergymen also attended the meeting, which is discussing how Muslim nations can adopt moderate policies and preserve civil liberties and human rights.
The civil war in neighboring Syria has taken on an increasingly sectarian tone, pitting predominantly Sunni rebels against a regime dominated by an offshoot of Shiism, which is allied with Shiite-majority Iran. Jordan is worried that the violence could spill across the border.
Sunni-Shiite tensions also impact conflicts in Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere. In Egypt, Islamists torched churches after security forces staged a bloody crackdown on encampments protesting the toppling of President Mohammed Morsi.
"This conference coincides with our repeated calls to reject and end ethnic and intra-religious sectarian violence, which entails a recipe for the destruction of the Islamic world," Abdullah said. He warned against the "danger of manipulating religion for political purposes and sowing the seeds of hateful ethnic and intra-religious sectarian division."
Abdullah said Muslims should respect democracy and make it inclusive. "Majoritarian rule is not the essence of democracy because democracy is achieved when all share the feeling that they are truly represented. This is the essence of political consensus in Islam," he added.