In October of 1993, Prince Charles addressed the Oxford center of Islamic Studies. A major patron of the Center, he was asked to speak about his Knowledge of Islam. The following paragraphs are some excerpts of his talk:
“The depressing fact is, that despite the advances in technology and mass communications of the second half of the 20th century, despite mass travel, the intermingling of the races, the ever growing reduction – or so we believe -about the mysteries of our world, misunderstanding between Islam and the West continue… As far as the West is concerned, this can not be because of ignorance. There are more than billion Muslims worldwide. Many millions live in Commonwealth. Ten million of them live in the West and around one million live in Britain. Our own Islamic community has been growing and flourishing for decades… it is odd, in many ways, that misunderstandings between Islam and the West should persist. For that which binds our two worlds to gather is so much more powerful than that which divide us. We share many key values in common… another obvious Western prejudice is to judge the position of women in Islamic society by the extreme cases. The rights of muslim women to property and inheritance, to some protection if divorced,and to the conducting of business were rights prescribed by the Qur’an 1400 years ago. In Britain at least, some of these were novel even to my grandfather’s generation!”
He goes on to remind the west of its apparent forgetfulness and indebtedness to the Muslim world, stating,
“We have underestimated the importance of 800 years of Islamic society and culture in Spain between the 8th and 15th centuries… to the preservation of classical learning during the Dark Ages, and to the first flowerings of the Renaissance… not only did muslim Spain gather and preserve the intellectual content of ancient Greek and Roman civilization, it also interpreted and expanded upon that civilization and made a vital contribution of its own in so many fields… in science, astronomy, mathematics, algebra…law, history, medicine, pharmacology, optics, agriculture, architecture, theology, and music… Many of the traits on which modern Europe prides itself came to it from Muslim Spain. Diplomacy, free trade, open borders, the techniques of academic research, of anthropology, etiquette, fashion, alternative medicine, hospitals, all came from this great city of cities. Medieval Islam was religion of remarkable tolerance for its time, allowing Jews and Christians the right to practice their inherited beliefs and setting an example which was not, unfortunately, copied for many centuries in the West…”
Near the end of Prince Charles’ speech he said, “More than this, Islam can teach us today a way of understanding and living in a world which Christianity itself is poorer for having lost. At the heart of Islam is its preservation of an integral view of the universe. Islam refuses to separate man and nature, religion and science, mind and matter, and has preserved a metaphysical and unified view of ourselves and the world around us… But the West gradually lost this integrated vision of the world with Copernicus and Descartes and the coming of the scientific revolution.”
What a beautyful representation of some of the facts about Islam, it’s history and Arab contribution to the world. But how many westerners have heard this speech in total ? How many fearful minds and hearts could have been comforted and enlightened by this message ? Did the Western media advertise this advocacy for true Islamic understanding? No because the media’s agenda is at odd with what Islam stands for.
#Islamophobia # Prince Charles #womenrights in islam