Muslim scholar shares concerns of dystopian future with Assembly

His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan, a guest of the Lord High Commissioner, was invited to speak by the General Assembly on Wednesday.

Prince Moderator
His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan (left) meets the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning, in the black and white corridor.

Leader in interfaith relations

Prince Ghazi is the Personal Envoy and Special Advisor on Religious and Cultural Affairs to King Abdullah II. A leader in interfaith relations, he has chaired committees for publications including the Amman Document, a statement calling for tolerance and unity in the Muslim world, and A Common Word, an open letter to the global Christian community which encouraged peace, justice, and understanding between the two religious traditions.

He holds PhDs from the universities of both Cambridge and Al-Azar, Cairo, and has written and contributed to a number of books and articles on Islam and the Muslim community.

Prince Ghazi opened his address with the traditional invocation or blessing known as the Bismillah, which translates as “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the most Merciful, Praise be to God, and may peace and blessings be on His Messenger.”

He spoke movingly of his dismay and anger at the recent bombing in Manchester, and condemned that attack and those like it “in the strongest possible terms.”

He warned the Assembly of the “Islamisation of lone wolves,” particularly via the Internet, and said that education is vital to prevent the radicalisation of “gullible people.”

In the main body of his address, written before the Manchester attack, the Prince issued a stark warning on the dangers of climate change and technological advances in warfare.

He predicted the future discrimination and migration of Muslims, and an environmental decline which would make profound changes to the way we live.

Moderator's praise

Again, he presented education as a key resource in preventing future crisis, saying that the only prayer for 'more' in the Qur'an is “my Lord, increase me in knowledge,” showing the Islamic commitment to learning – as his own education history shows!

In his vote of thanks following the speech, the Moderator praised Prince Ghazi as a "peacemaker, reconciler, scholar, man of prayer, and leader of great courage.”

He thanked him warmly for the gift of his time and insight, the act of friendship in offering the address.

The Moderator then presented the Prince with gifts: a copy of Finlay Macdonald’s From Reform to Renewal, a new book on the history of the Church of Scotland, and a Church of Scotland Guild tartan scarf to protect his Highness from the chilly Scottish weather!

Read HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad's full speech

Watch Prince Ghazi deliver his speech