MANAMA: The Arab world must shun extremism which breeds violence, His Majesty King Hamad urged yesterday.
Extremism and violence are alien to the principles of Islam, he said in an address read out at the opening of a regional forum held in Bahrain.
"The region has a civilised and open-minded heritage that is based on the respect of people's rights and aspirations by promoting insight and sound guidance in line with the teachings of the Holy Quran," said the King.
His address was read out by Royal Court Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa at a forum for Arab intellectuals, aimed at mapping out a moderate response to pressures on the Arab world following the terrorists attacks on the US in September 2001.
The two-day forum, organised by Jordan-based Arab Thought Forum (Al Muntada), is chaired by the its founder Prince Al Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.
More than 130 Arab decision-makers, prominent scholars and intellectuals are attending the forum at the Sheraton Hotel.
The King said that moderation was a sense of balance that Islam and all other religions across the ages had called for, stressing the need for humanity to maintain this balance.
He said that Bahrain was hosting the forum at a time when its ceiling of political and intellectual freedom had increased and the channels for dialogue were open for everyone.
"Our civil society regained its strength for further democracy and civilised development in line with our comprehensive reform project, which was backed by the Bahraini people in a referendum on the National Action Charter," said the King.