European Leaders and Islam
European leaders have considered two facts very carefully:
There will be no conflict between Islam and Christianity, and Islam
has not allied itself with terrorism. Most European governmental
leaders and prominent politicians have sent messages commending
Islam and expressing their interest in its moral teachings. At the
head of this list is Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Blair says that he has read the Qur’an three times.
His interest in Islam was reported in the Turkish press for the
first time due to his remarks about giving alms.64 In later statements,
he often mentioned his admiration for the Qur’an’s moral
On March 29, 2000, the BBC reported on Blair’s
admiration for the Qur’an in a feature entitled “Blair:
Qur’an Inspired Me.” He was reported to have said that
Islam was a good and peaceful religion, that he owned two copies
of the Qur’an, and that he was quite inspired by it:
If you read the Koran, it is so clear … the
concept of love and fellowship as the guiding spirits of humanity.
Two or three days before the 9/11 attacks, the British
newspaper The Mail on Sunday published an article in which
Blair said that former US president Bill Clinton’s daughter
had given him a copy of the Qur’an as a gift, that he had
begun to read it, and that it gave him courage.66 After the attacks,
Blair once again said in an interview on Al-Jazeera television
that had read the Qur’an. He also added:
I read the message of the Koran, in so far as it
can be translated. And I read about Islam and I enjoy doing that.
And I think that I have learned things about the Koran that I
never knew before and I think a lot of Christians would be interested.
Time Magazine called Blair a “long-time
student of the Qur’an.”68 Blair knows the Qur’an
well, and from the first day after the 9/11 attacks, he stressed
in several speeches that Islam and Muslims had nothing to do with
them. For example, he said:
Bin Laden is no more obedient to the proper teaching
of the Koran, than those Crusaders of the 12th century who pillaged
and murdered, represented the true teaching of the Gospel. I believe
it is time the West confronted its ignorance of Islam. Jews and
Muslims and Christians are all children of Abraham, and this is
the moment to bring the faiths closer together, in understanding
of our common values and heritage, a source of unity and strength.
As mentioned above, Prince Charles has a close connection
with Islam. He first expressed this at Oxford in 1993. Since that
time, he has had close relations with Muslims living in England
and has attended many meetings and openings organized by Muslims.
He also has expressed his admiration for Islam many times. At Wilson
Park in 1996, he made his admiration for Islam clear, as well as
the reasons for it. Stressing the following points, he stated:
I feel that we
in the West could be helped to rediscover the roots of our own
understanding by an appreciation of the Islamic tradition's deep
respect for the timeless traditions of the natural order.... Modern
materialism is unbalanced and increasingly damaging in its long-term
consequences.... But during the past three centuries, in the Western
world at least, a dangerous division has occurred in the way we
perceive the world around us. Science has tried to assume a monopoly,
even a tyranny, over our understanding. Religion and science have
become separated... We are only now beginning to gauge the disastrous
results... Science has done the inestimable service of showing
us a world much more complex than we ever imagined. But in its
modern, materialist, one-dimensional form, it cannot explain everything....
This [materialist] view is quite contrary, for example, to the
outlook of the Muslim craftsman or artist, who is never concerned
with display for its own sake, nor with progressing ever forward
in his own ingenuity, but is content to submit a man's craft to
God. That outlook reflects, I believe, the memorable passage in
the Koran: "whithersoever you turn there is the face of God and
God is all-Embracing, all-Knowing".... There are many ways in
which mutual understanding and appreciation can be built. Perhaps,
for instance, we could begin by having more Muslim teachers in
British schools, or by encouraging exchanges of teachers. Everywhere
in the world people want to learn English. But in the West, in
turn, we need to be taught by Islamic teachers how to learn with
our hearts, as well as our heads.70
Through the Prince Foundation, Prince
Charles has sought to benefit Muslims. The Oxford Islamic Research
Center, which began its activities in 1993, was founded with his
sponsorship. The Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts department,
which carries on its activities in conjunction with his foundation,
works to provide, among other things, the sociological and economic
means to support the traditions and cultures of British Muslims,
cover the costs of education for Muslim children, and establish
interreligious dialogue. Lately, through this section, the prince
raised 10 million pounds for the Muslim Centre Project to be established
|(Above) A report
in the Muslim News relates Prince Charles' conversation with
some Muslim young people whom he had received at Buckingham
Palace.(Middle) The BBC reported, in "Prince joins Ramadan
Ceremony." that Prince Charles visited a mosque and some Islamic
schools in East London during Ramadan. (Below) In address
at Wilton Park, the prince criticized materialism and said
that Islam gave the best answer to the materialist point of
||Commonsense Prince, The Prince visited
a mosque, Price Charles: I won't have Islam belittled; Prince
Charles has a good relationship with Muslims living in England,
and often meets with them and listens to their problems.He
often says that he is as much impressed by Islamic morality
as he is by Islamic art. One of the most evident examples
of this is the "Islamic garden" that he had constructed based
completely on Islamic works of art.
Prince Charles is especially concerned with educating
Muslim youth. In 2001, for the first time he invited Muslims to
attend a Ramadan celebration in Buckingham Palace, and there expressed
his thoughts on this matter to specially invited Muslim young
people. The event was reported in The Muslim News in
the following words:
He welcomed the
"greater sensitivity and imagination" offered by Muslim youth,
because without that "we will become so much more dry and sterile."
Prince Charles acknowledged the diversity of the Muslim youth
present: "You make up what I can only describe as a very rich
tapestry that makes an enormous difference to the diversity and
richness of our country. One of the things I have always tried
to get across, which is not always easy, is that in a world which
is increasingly secular, increasingly materialistic, it is absolutely
essential for all those who believe and have faith in something
greater than ourselves in something beyond the purely material,
are remembered and celebrated."72
During this reception, he chatted
with individual young Muslims about their needs for more than
an hour, asking them if they encountered any difficulties in their
education, careers, and the practice of Islam. Among other things,
the prince was especially curious about whether young people understood
the spirit of the Qur'an, if they had read it from cover to cover,
if they had encountered any difficulties at school during Ramadan,
and whether they were happy with the food offered by their schools
for the iftar meal.73
leave you the land to live in after them. That is the reward
of those who fear My station and fear My threat.
The interest shown by Prince Charles is certainly highly
important. The change in the thinking of prominent statesmen on
this matter is a huge step toward eradicating the false opinion
that certain circles in the West have been trying to create about
Islam. Clearly, a society whose leaders realize the beauty and
superiority of Islamic morality will be able to approach Islam
far more easily, and Muslims living in that society will enjoy
more peaceful lives. For this reason, it is an important responsibility
to ensure that prominent people receive accurate information about
Islam. People familiar with Islam and its moral teachings, no
matter what their position, certainly will share their impressions
with others. If they are among the leaders of that particular
society, both those who direct society and who address the masses
will benefit from these impressions.
Therefore, when you read these descriptions, realize
the extraordinary nature of these developments. In the Western
world today, there is a growing rapprochement with Islam. Certainly
this is good news for Muslims who work to show the proofs of God's
Existence and Unity, defeat the prevailing materialist ideologies,
and communicate true religion to others. Believers also are responsible
for relating this good news to all Muslims.
64. Hurriyet (A Turkish Daily),
January 11, 2001.
65. “Blair: Qur’an Inspired Me,” BBC News, March
66. “Blair Kuran’a Merak Salmis,” (Blair Takes
Interest in the Qur’an) Milliyet (A Turkish Daily), September
67. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Interview with Al-Jazeera,
October 9, 2001.
68. “Travels With Tony,” Time, November 12, 2001.
69. “Tony Blair’s Finest Hour,” Australian Broadcasting
Corporation, October 7, 2001.
70. "Prince Charls' Latest Speech on Islam,"
71. "Prince Joins Ramadan Ceremony," BBC News,
November 23, 2001.
72. "Prince Charles Wins the Hearts of Muslim
Youth," The Muslim News, February 22, 2002.