Page last updated at 09:18 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

Prince says embrace diversity

Prince Charles
The Prince is patron of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies

The Prince of Wales has called for the UK to "derive strength" from its diversity, in a speech in Oxford.

He addressed a reception held by the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies at Magdalen College on Wednesday night.

The Prince is the patron of the centre that opened in 1985 and is affiliated to Oxford University.

"To be successful in developing a truly harmonious society ... we have to find the right ways to derive strength from our diversity", he said.

""One of the challenges we face is the process of integration which in many ways is a dynamic one, evolved with each successive generation.

"As inhabitants of this country we all have a role to play in shaping our society on the basis of one fundamental principle and that is understanding."

He also called for the major religions to concentrate on what unites them, rather than the differences between them.

"The future surely lies in rediscovering the universal truths that dwell at the heart of these religions.

"All I have ever wanted to do is build bridges that span these chasms."

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