Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Prince Charles Speaks on Islam

For a long time I have wondered if Prince Charles is a Muslim or not. He appears to be quite knowledgeable in the deen, even more so than some of us that openly profess adherence. You never know. He could be like John Esposito, knowledgeable about the deen but still a Christian. Nevertheless, may we all be guided on the straight path. Here is the article about his speech at Al Azhar University.

Charles mends fences over Islam cartoons
By Caroline Davies in Cairo(Filed: 22/03/2006)

For the Prince of Wales, whose passion for all things Islamic is firmly on record, there can be few greater accolades than the opportunity to address some of the Arab world's most eminent scholars.At Cairo's venerated Al-Azhar University - the oldest seat of religious and secular study in the world - he took full advantage yesterday, delivering a 30-minute speech on inter-faith tolerance entitled Unity in Faith.
Before an audience that included Egypt's top cleric the Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar, Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, and 800 students and teachers, he seized the opportunity to criticise the Danish cartoons that satirised the Prophet Mohammed and provoked violent protests across the Muslim world.
"The recent ghastly strife and anger over the Danish cartoons show the danger that comes of our failure to listen and to respect what is precious and sacred to others," said the prince.
"In my view, the true mark of a civilised society is the respect it pays to minorities and to strangers."
He continued: "I look forward to a world in which we share a vision that acknowledges our differences with respect and understanding, that recognises what others hold sacred, and to a world in which we see that we cannot and must not abuse our great traditions and their teachings as a weapon in the service of selfish worldly power."
It was a mammoth speech, running to eight typed pages. The Duchess of Cornwall perched a pair of wire-rimmed reading glasses on her nose, for the first time in public, to read the English version.
In respect of Islamic culture she had slipped off her duck-egg blue suede shoes to reveal pink-laquered toenails.
In the knowledge that the eyes of the Sunni Muslim world's most auspicious scholars would be upon her, she had chosen an ensemble of pale-blue silk and chiffon tunic top and white trousers, a Western interpretion of the shalwar kameez and designed by Robinson Valentine.
Earlier, the royal couple joined 30 students at a class in English on Islamic studies at the mosque adjoining the university.
The highlight of the visit was the presentation of an honorary doctorate to the prince in recognition of his conciliatory stance since the September 11 attacks.
Yesterday's visit coincided with the Duchess being named "Spouse of the Year" by The Oldie magazine for her "strength and conviction " in the public gaze, attributes which have undoubtedly helped her bear constant comparison to Diana, who was also famously photographed at the mosque.
Accepting the award long-distance and with good humour, she dispatched a tongue-in-cheek message via her friend, the author Jilly Cooper.
"Unfortunately, at the time this award launch takes place I shall be carrying out some overseas spousing duties," she said.

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