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Islam: Europe's Second Largest Religion
The History of Islam in Europe
European Leaders and Islam
Those Who Turn To Islam
Reports of Islam in The Media

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 teaching.

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. 65

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. 67

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. 69

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 in London.71

(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 view. 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

We will leave you the land to live in after them. That is the reward of those who fear My station and fear My threat.
(Qur'an: 14:14)

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 29, 2000.
66. “Blair Kuran’a Merak Salmis,” (Blair Takes Interest in the Qur’an) Milliyet (A Turkish Daily), September 11, 2001.
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," http://www.sunnah.org/nl/v0104/prince.htm.
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.
73. Ibid.

This site is based on the works of Harun Yahya
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