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A Muslim monarch and religious diplomat wins some overdue recognition

ONE of the world’s most lucrative prizes for spiritual endeavour,  bequeathed by an American-British billionaire who was a fervent Christian, has been awarded this year to one of the luminaries of the Muslim world, King Abdullah of Jordan.

The Jordanian monarch, whose dynasty claims descent from the prophet Muhammad, is only the second Muslim to receive the Templeton Prize, worth £1.1m, since it was instituted in 1973. Its stated aim is to honour, every year, an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to “affirming life’s spiritual dimension”.

The prize, and the Templeton Foundation which administers it, were established by Sir John Templeton, an American-born investor who was a devoted Presbyterian Christian but also saw value in learning about other religions. Previous recipients have included South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lord Jonathan Sacks (former chief rabbi of Britain and the Commonwealth), and Charles Colson, a member of Richard…Continue reading

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