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Charles and Camilla visit mosque to highlight inter-faith harmony

By Claire Hayhurst

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have visited the spectacular Sheikh Zayed 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 Government, having left Oman earlier yesterday. 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. Among them was Bishop Paul Hinder of the Roman Catholic Church, who 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, appointed as the new minister of state for tolerance in February.

Belfast Telegraph


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