October 27, 1993


The following are excepts from a lecture on "Islam and the West" given by Prince Charles, the Prince of W ales, at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, England on the 27th of October, 1993:

"If there is much misunderstanding in the West about the nature of Islam, there is also much ignorance about the debt our own culture and civilisation owe to the Islamic world Islam is part of our past and present, in all fields of human endeavour It is part of our own heritage, not a thing apart 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.

Western civilization has become increasingly acquisitive and exploitative in defiance of our environmental responsibilities. This crucial sense of oneness and trusteeship of the vital sacramental and spiritual character of the world about us is surely something important we can relearn from Islam.

Somehow we have to learn to understand each other, and to educate our children - a new generation - whose attitudes and cultural outlook may be different from ours so that they understand too. We have to show trust, mutual respect, and tolerance, if we are to find common ground between us and work together to find solutions. The Islamic and Western worlds can no longer afford to stand apart from a common effort to solve their common problems. We cannot afford to revive the territorial and political confrontations of the past. We have to share experiences, to explain ourselves to each other, to understand and tolerate, and build on the positive principles our cultures have in common. That trade has to be two-way. Each of us needs to understand the importance of conciliation, of reflection - tadabbur - to open our minds and unlock our hearts to each other."

Source: The Ismaili, Canada (March 1994)

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