He added that selection criteria require that the capital be of rich cultural and historic heritage, enjoying the ability to provide distinguished contributions to the Islamic culture and humanity in general. Other requirements include the presence of cultural sites and institutions and a track record of organising festivals, exhibitions, theatrical and art performances.
“All of these factors are present in Amman,” he said at the launching event, attended by Prime Minister Hani Mulki, who was deputising for His Majesty King Abdullah.
In addition to the cultural and historical significance of the city, Amman is also a modern city, flourishing with knowledge and science, Twaijri said, highlighting the harmony between people from various backgrounds and beliefs as another point of significance as regarding the cultural status of the city.
“The Amman Message, which is a universal call for peace and dialogue, was launched here,” he noted.
Commending Jordan’s continuous support for ISESCO, Twaijri said that the organisation will implement a year-long cultural programme, including various activities, and in partnership with the Culture Ministry.
He concluded that the programme of Islamic cultural capitals seeks to be the starting point for on-going cultural and scientific activities in selected countries.
For his part, Culture Minister Nabih Shuqum said selecting Jordan for this position at the current “critical” time is an appreciation of the country’s contributions to the region and its message of enlightenment.
Highlighting Jordan’s efforts in spreading the peaceful message of Islam, Shuqum said the wrongdoings of some groups in the name of Islam have burdened Muslims and shifted their responsibilities from spreading the peaceful message of Islam to defending the religion in the face of accusations.
“Islam is a religion of mercy and ethics,” he said, noting that Arab and Muslim scientists have greatly contributed to human civilisations in most scientific fields.
On the sidelines of the the launching event, a photo exhibition that showcased photos from the Islamic world was opened.
Kuwait was the capital of Islamic culture for 2016.