WASHINGTON, Sep 21 (APP): Britain’s King Charles, is a “loud admirer of Islam, a critic of Western interventionism and a champion of multiculturalism who will win his country new friends – and some populist enemies – across the world”, according to a British journalist and author.
“King Charles III will surprise us,” Ben Judah, the journalist, wrote in The Washington Post, about the new monarch, who, according to him, has for decades sought to free himself from what he calls “Western materialism” by immersing himself in the world’s second-largest faith.
“As the Prince of Wales, he threw himself into the study of Islamic textiles, gardens and architecture. But he did not stop there. The king has also studied Arabic to understand the (holy) Quran,” correspondent Judas wrote.
In speeches as early as 1993, the article noted, Charles warned that “the degree of misunderstanding between the Islamic and Western worlds remain dangerously high” and “I believe wholeheartedly that the links between these two worlds matter more today than ever before.”
Rejecting the popular narrative of a “clash of civilizations” brewing between the Muslim world and the West, the then-Prince of Wales went on to declare that Islam is “part of our past and our present, in all fields of human endeavour. It has helped to create modern Europe. It is part of our own inheritance, not a thing apart.”
“As bigotry and Islamophobia grew rampant after 9/11,” he doubled down, while noting, “This planet’s survival will depend on you understanding that you can achieve unity through diversity,” he said in 2006 in Pakistan, going on to quote the (holy) Quran: “Only they pay attention who have hearts; only they believe (or see signs) who have hearts.”
“His views, put him far outside the mainstream: not only his opposition to France’s bans on Muslim face coverings but also his criticism of Danish cartoons …”
In this regard, the Post article noted that the King is patron of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and his Prince’s Foundation’s School of Traditional Arts teaches a wide range of courses on Islamic traditions. “He has made visiting Muslim shrines, holy places and even the hugely important Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo part of his royal travels. The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar called him a ‘fair Western voice’ on Islam and celebrated their meeting.
“Britain’s new top Royal diplomat — though he might not have said so explicitly — wants to heal the wounds left by the 9/11 era.”
Noting that his efforts to establish cultural dialogues aren’t limited to Islam, correspondent Judas said Charles also built remarkable bridges to Jews.
“But it is the new king’s fascination with Islam that has the most obviously political implications. As Prince of Wales, he audibly opposed Western neocolonialism. When Tony Blair’s government prepared to follow the US lead into Iraq, Charles made his opposition known to government… The king is also a noted supporter of the Palestinians, most recently and pointedly wishing them ‘freedom, justice and equality’ while repeatedly pressing the British government to do more,” the article said.
“King Charles III is Britain’s new monarch and may bring a markedly different personal vision of religion and spirituality to the role, ” the article said. His embrace of Islam has occurred against a backdrop of rising Islamophobia across the West, a political context he is well aware of.
Speaking in 2016, he implicitly criticized the newly elected US president, Donald Trump, and his policy of banning many visitors from Muslim-majority countries. Charles lamented the rise of “many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive to those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930s…
“An outspoken king that gives an Eid message, champions diversity and detests Islamophobia can win friends and heal wounds abroad. By the same token, it could also make enemies in the United States if Trump or his movement ever take back the White House with the sort of supremacist politics Charles has rejected.”