LONDON, June 10 (APP)-The heir to the British throne Prince Charles of Wales has paid tribute to the role of faith communities in the UK and praised the work done by Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OXCIS) in particular the Young Muslim leadership programme.The Prince delivered a speech on ‘Islam and the Environment’ at OXCIS) where he was invited as Patron of Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies to help celebrate the centre’s 25th anniversary.‘This is a vital contribution to the process of boosting the self-esteem of young Muslims, about whom I care deeply,’ he told the gathering.
The Prince of Wales reaffirmed the need to help UK’s minority communities and faith groups integrate into British Society. The Prince has spent more than 25 years working on encouraging UK minority communities to integrate into British society and to build good relationships between all faith communities.His Royal Highness said:
‘Over the last twenty-five years, I have tried to find as many ways as possible to help integrate them into British society and to build good relationships between our faith communities. I happen to believe this is best achieved by emphasizing unity through diversity. Only in this way can we ensure fairness and build mutual respect in our country. And if we get it right here then perhaps we might be able to offer an example in the wider world.’
The Prince chose “Islam and the Environment” as the focus of his speech, bringing together two important strands of his work over three decades. Addressing the audience, The Prince spoke about the importance to realise the damage which Mankind is doing to the environment and take steps to halt it, before it is too late.
‘One of the many issues of commonality between the World’s great faiths is a strong focus on protection of the environment which is God’s creation,’ he said.
He encouraged the people of faith around the World to reconnect with their sacred teachings on this issue. His Royal Highness said that there was a current division between Man and Nature which was not only caused by industrialisation, technological development and the pursuit of economic growth, but also by attitudes to the relationship with Nature.
He said that a way of thinking had evolved over the last few centuries that he believed went against the grain of all the teachings of the world’s sacred traditions, including Islam. He said that all great faiths are rooted in an understanding of the fact that Man is a part of Nature, not apart from Nature, and must always live within Nature’s means and limits.
The Prince of Wales spoke about the great importance and respect the Islamic faith attaches to the preservation of the environment. He said: ‘From what I know of the Quran, again and again it describes the natural world as the handiwork of a unitary benevolent power. It very explicitly describes Nature as possessing an “intelligibility’ and that there is no separation between Man and Nature, precisely because there is no separation between the natural world and God. It offers a completely integrated view of the Universe where religion and science, mind and matter are all part of one living, conscious whole.
‘If I may quote the Quran, ‘Have you considered: if your water were to disappear into the Earth, who then could bring you gushing water?’
This is the Divine hospitality that offers us our provisions and our dwelling places, our clothing, tools and transport. The Earth is robust and prolific, but also delicate, subtle, complex and diverse and so our mark must always be gentle.’
The Prince also noted that these teachings were also evident in Judaism and in his own faith, Christianity and were well expressed in the writings of Islamic poets and scholars, and Western poets like Wordsworth.
Ending his speech, The Prince said: ‘There is a profound truth in that seemingly simple, old saying of the nomads that “the best of all Mosques is Nature herself”.’