BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 15:31 GMT
Charles urges inter-faith respect
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall
The royal couple visited Muslim, Sikh and Christian buildings
The Prince of Wales has called for tolerance between all religions as he continues his tour of Pakistan.

Accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, his trip to Lahore took in a mosque, a Sikh temple and a cathedral.

The prince called on community leaders of all faiths to have the "courage" to encourage mutual understanding and tackle religious intolerance.

BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt says the prince is passionate about improving inter-faith dialogue.

The royal couple visited the buildings of three religions within three hours in Lahore, known as Pakistan's cultural capital.

They were careful to obey the dress code at each venue, changing headwear and taking off shoes accordingly.

Conservative dress

As they entered the Badshahi Mosque, one of the most celebrated landmarks in the city, they took off their shoes and the duchess wore a shawl to cover her hair.

She had also opted to wear a long dove-grey tunic, which fell below the knees, and ivory palazzo trousers to ensure she complied with religious requirements.

The problem is that we are a very small minority living in a very big majority of Muslims
Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha

Diana, Princess of Wales, caused outrage within the Muslim community in 1991 when she visited the 17th century mosque wearing a skirt above her knees.

The vast religious building, in the eastern Punjab province, holds 55,000 worshippers and is the second largest in the country.

On the fourth day of the royal tour, the couple also visited the Sikh Gurdwara Dera Sahib, where footwear was taken off again.

The duchess once again donned a headscarf and the prince wore a white topi hat.

At Lahore's Anglican Cathedral Church of the Resurrection, the duchess opted to wear her scarf around her neck.

Christian minority

There are more Christians in Pakistan than there are Muslims in the UK, but they are a minority group and have suffered attacks, says Peter Hunt.

Prior to a garden reception, Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha spoke of the difficulties faced by Christians in the country.

"The problem is that we are a very small minority living in a very big majority of Muslims."

Ill-educated, ill-informed leadership is a key source of conflict between communities
The Prince of Wales

He added: "It's difficult for some of our people to find jobs because of their Christian background and this is more so in the last couple of years, especially since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

At a seminar on inter-faith dialogue, the prince said all minority religions deserve to be treated with respect.

He stressed that leadership was crucial to addressing religious intolerance.

"Ill-educated, ill-informed leadership is a key source of conflict between communities," he said.

He added: "Understanding in private is one thing, but there is a need to translate understanding into practical action on the ground. This requires courage."

Security fears

The prince has been forced to amend his programme on the trip over security concerns, with a visit to Peshawar having to be cancelled.

Journeying to the north-western frontier of Pakistan was regarded as a risk after unrest followed an air raid on suspected militants.

The prince has used his visit to speak out against religious intolerance, and to press President Pervez Musharraf over the case of Mirza Tahir Hussain, a Briton acquitted of murder by a civilian court, but sentenced to death by a religious court.

In Pictures: Royal earthquake visit
01 Nov 06 |  In Pictures
Prince urges religious tolerance
31 Oct 06 |  South Asia
In Pictures: Royal Pakistan tour
31 Oct 06 |  In Pictures
Rally condemns Pakistan air raid
31 Oct 06 |  South Asia

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific