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Charles and Camilla visit Abu Dhabi mosque in promotion of religious tolerance

Published 06/11/2016

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque for a religious tolerance event
Camilla completes a puzzle with a young girl as she visits Oman's first children's public library in Muscat
The Duchess of Cornwall talks to bishops as she visits Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
The Duchess of Cornwall sits at a table with a group of children as she visits Oman's first children's public library in Muscat
Camilla meets librarian Hatim Al Mamari (right) as she visits Oman's first mobile library
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
The Duchess of Cornwall talks to children taking part in a reading event outside the Dar Al Atta book shop in Muscat, Oman
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Duchess of Cornwall (centre) visits Oman's first children's public library in Muscat

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have visited the spectacular Sheikh Zaved Grand Mosque to promote religious tolerance.

Charles and Camilla first visited the mosque, in Abu Dhabi, in 2007 when it was still being built.

They returned as part of their tour to the Middle East on behalf of the British Government, having left Oman earlier on Sunday.

Charles was dressed in a linen suit and striped tie, while Camilla wore a blue headscarf, long jacket and trousers.

Visitors to the mosque must remove their footwear, and Charles walked round in black socks while his wife went barefoot.

The couple toured the mosque, which has stunning chandeliers and a wall featuring the 99 names of God in traditional calligraphy, before learning about its architecture.

The carpet in the main hall of the mosque, which took 11 years to build, is considered to be one of the largest in the world.

Following the tour, Charles and Camilla attended a reception for guests of different faiths and nationalities.

Bishop Paul Hinder, of the Roman Catholic Church, spoke with Charles at the mosque.

"For me, the visit is about recognition," he said.

"The prince was able to speak to us and see the mutual tolerance which is reality in this country.

"It doesn't happen all over the world that we can meet in such a place in such a formation.

"Living and seeing this reality has an impact."

The mosque was established in 2008 and sits at the entrance to Abu Dhabi City Island.

It aims to work with research centres and religious, educational and cultural institutions within the United Arab Emirates and across the world.

Charles and Camilla were shown around the mosque by Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, who was appointed as the new minister of state for tolerance in February.

The UAE is home to more than 200 nationalities, a large majority of whom are Commonwealth citizens.

Kim Debenham, deputy head of mission at the Australian embassy, said: "It was my first opportunity to meet anyone from the British royal family so it was quite special.

"Prince Charles said he had visited Abu Dhabi before but the last time he was at the mosque it was a construction site.

"We spoke about the different commonwealth communities here in Abu Dhabi and that they are growing all the time."

Press Association

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