Monday, 18 March 2013

Islam: Prince Charles studies Quran

Also in this week's news round up, worldwide religious leaders have welcomed election of Pope Francis.

Prince Charles reveals efforts to study the Quran
Prince Charles has spoken of his efforts to learn Arabic while on a trip to Qatar. The Prince, who is next in line to be the monarch of more than a dozen Commonwealth countries as well as the future supreme governor of the Church of England, spoke to Qatar's energy minister of his struggles with the language, saying: "It goes in one ear and out the other."

The Prince is said to have been having lessons for six months and several British newspapers report how he eventually hopes to study the Quran in its original Arabic. Charles has previously spoken of studying Islam's views on the environment and  in a 2010 speech he said: "The inconvenient truth is that we share this planet with the rest of creation for a very good reason - and that is, we cannot exist on our own without the intricately balanced web of life around us. Islam has always taught this and to ignore that lesson is to default on our contract with creation."

Pope congratulated by worldwide religious leaders
Following the election of Pope Francis, messages of congratulations have been pouring into the Vatican from religious leaders around the world. The Dalai Lama has delivered a message saying: "May I offer you my greetings and sense of joy on your historic election as the Pope. Although I am not very familiar with many Catholic saints, I do know about St Francis, having visited Assisi and attended inter-religious gatherings there. His discipline, the simplicity of his way of life and his love for all creatures are qualities that I find deeply inspiring. I am moved to know that his is the name you have chosen for your papacy."

Meanwhile, the Reverand Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, secretary general of World Evangelical Alliance, an organisation representing 600 million Christian evangelicals said: "We look forward to building on some of the good work we have done together in the past. We live at a time of grave challenges for all Christian communities. Therefore, the need to find common ground for conversation and action in this world are fundamental if we are to be faithful witnesses to Jesus Christ and his kingdom on earth."

Muslims leaders have also reached out to the new Pope. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group which represents dozens of Muslim countries, has confirmed how secretary general, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has written to congratulate the pontiff. The Organisation's website states: "The Secretary General emphasized that over the last eight years, the OIC has called for and worked hard to propagate the idea of 'Historic Reconciliation between Islam and Christianity', whose followers count for two third of humanity. He concluded: 'I would like at this historic moment to reiterate this call, while praying for success in your holiness’ lofty and noble mission.' "

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, worldwide Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who have over 10 million followers worldwide, said: "I would like to offer congratulations to Pope Francis and to Catholics across the world. May the appointment of the new Pope prove to be blessed not just for Christians but for all people across the globe. May the new Pope lead the Church towards the true teachings of Christianity. I hope and pray that in the forthcoming era the Pope uses his influence to develop peace and harmony in the world. There is a great need to join together upon our common teachings and particularly upon the Unity of God."

Muslim Brotherhood statement attacks rights of Egyptian women
In a recent seminar for women training to become marriage counsellors, a Muslim Brotherhood Family expert stated: "A woman needs to be confined within a framework that is controlled by the man of the house." Additionally, the Muslim Brotherhood has listed objections to a United Nations declaration opposing violence against women, proclaiming the need for a husband’s consent to travel, work or use contraception amongst others.

Lord of the Rings director an adviser on life of Muhammad film
Two films are being produced amidst expected controversy, about the life of the prophet of Islam, Muhammad. Muslims are very sensitive about the physical depiction of the prophet in films, even when in a positive light. In Qatar a $1 billion dollar epic series is being produced with an Islamic scholar and Lord of the Rings Producer Barrie Osborne as technical advisers. In Iran, a $30 million film is being produced which will show parts of the Prophet’s body but not his face. The films are already sparking controversy with at least the Al Azhar University in Cairo demanding a ban on the Iranian film.

Church welcomes Muslims for prayers
A US church has opened its doors to the local Muslim community. The Second Reformed Church in New Jersey will allow Muslim worshipers to gather every Friday afternoon for the traditional weekly Islamic service. The decision was made as an act of kindness from local pastor, Doug Shepler, towards Muslim students at nearby Rutgers University who had previously been unable to find a formal location at which to pray. @newreligionEU
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