London, United Kingdom.- In a silent environment a dozen Muslims of all ages wait to sign a book of condolences for Queen Elizabeth II during an interfaith ceremony at the Baitul Futuh Grand Mosque in south London.
Some children run among the adults, but there is an atmosphere of respect.
“I am a first-generation Muslim in this country” and “here we can practice our faith under the protection of our” monarch, says 19-year-old Danial Saeed.
In the United Kingdom, the king is not only head of the Anglican Church, but also “defender of the faith”.
This title was originally addressed to Christianity and Charles III was proclaimed king on Saturday as “defender of the faith“, but in the past he had already said that, upon ascending the throne, he would consider himself responsible for upholding all faiths, in a Britain who became much more multi-cultural during her mother’s reign.
“Our loyalty to the king” will be “as strong as that which we show to her majesty the queen,” said Rafiq Hayat, president of the British Muslim community Ahamdiyya, in this act that includes a prayer.
“We live in a country where freedom of religion is real. (…) Both the monarch and the government perpetuate this freedom of expression, of belief,” he later told AFP.
In the 70-year reign of Elizabeth II “we have seen how our society has become multicultural and multi-confessional,” said Carlos III in his first speech as king on September 9, a day after the death of his mother.
– Reception in Buckingham –
This Friday, the monarch was to receive representatives of the main religions of the United Kingdom at Buckingham Palace.
The british monarchy It has its roots in Christianity. This religious character is strongly symbolized in the coronation ceremony – whose date is yet to be determined – in which the king will be anointed with blessed oil by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
However, Ian Bradley, professor of theology at St Andrews University, tells AFP, “The role of the monarch is to hold the nation together in every possible way, especially in terms of faith.”
Rami Ranger, president of the British Sikh Association, believes that as a monarch regardless of the political parties, religions or origins of her subjects, Queen Elizabeth gave everyone “an enormous sense of security”.
The British monarch has a role of “spiritual heart” of the nation and this “somewhat unconscious” spiritual bond has manifested itself, according to Bradley, in “the religious terms often chosen by many to express their feelings towards the queen”.
Maybe the United Kingdom has become “very much a post-Christian secular nation, but many people still appreciate that the sovereign has a religious aura,” he adds.
– Orthodox, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus –
“Some of the strongest supporters of the monarchy are members of religious minorities, like Jews, Sikhs, Hindus,” insists Bradley.
And remember that even Charles III is a practicing Christian who “goes to church every Sunday”, he is also “interested in Islam and spirituality in general.”
Just as his environmental defense resonates with the concerns of the youngest, this interest in religions in general could make Carlos III a monarch in tune with the United Kingdom current.
Among Christians, he has shown a special predilection for the Orthodox religion, making several retreats to monasteries on Mount Athos in Greece.
He moved the British Jewish community by visiting Israel -something that his mother never did-, although it was not on an official visit.
He also commissioned portraits of Holocaust survivors, a much appreciated gesture of remembrance.
has also had “a wonderful relationship with the Muslim world as a prince, praising the teachings of Islam and referring many times to the verses of the Koran”Hayat says.
We recommend you read:
- Floods in Italy leave at least 10 dead
- Massacre in Santander: This was the torture and murder of a teacher’s family
- Parade for the 212th anniversary of the beginning of the Independence of Mexico in Morelia
“We believe that he will be a very good leader for Muslims and that he will bring together the different confessions”, especially because given his stature “when he speaks, people listen” and “this will have a lot of weight in relations between the Muslim world, the world Christian and the Jewish world”, he concludes.