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Prince of Wales 'deeply moved' in televised Easter message

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Media captionPrince of Wales delivers Easter message

The Prince of Wales has drawn attention to people suffering religious persecution in a televised Easter message.

The prince said he was "deeply moved" by the courage of those who forgave their persecutors.

The message was addressed to people of all faiths around the world.

"My heart goes out to all who, this day, whatever their beliefs, are being persecuted on religious grounds," he said.

He continued: "At this time of Easter, when our minds are recalled to the suffering of our Lord 2,000 years ago, we think especially of those Christians who are suffering for their faith in many places around the world.

"Over the years I have met many who have had to flee for their faith and for their life or have somehow endured the terrifying consequences of remaining in their country.

"I have been so deeply moved and humbled by their truly remarkable courage and their selfless capacity for forgiveness despite all they have suffered."


Analysis

By Nicholas Witchell, BBC royal correspondent

One day he will be king and he knows that from that moment his freedom to speak out on issues will be constrained.

Until that moment arrives, Charles feels he has an obligation to attempt to raise awareness about matters that concern him.

One such issue is the plight of Christians who are persecuted in different parts of the world and particularly in Syria and Iraq.

Charles has had several meetings in recent months at Clarence House with Christian Church leaders from the Middle East. They've told him of the intense difficulties being experienced by members of the Christian faith: their churches are being destroyed and their freedom to worship violated.

Charles has long been a champion of inter-faith dialogue. He also has a genuine interest in the teachings of Islam and Judaism which, with Christianity, are the main "Abrahamic faiths".

Hence his Easter appeal: it is both a condemnation of those whose "barbaric grip" distorts faith, and an appeal for greater tolerance and understanding between people of different faiths.


The prince went on to say of Judaism, Christianity and Islam: "All three Abrahamic faiths have known and continue to know the bitterness of persecution when religion has fallen into the barbaric grip of those who distort and misrepresent faith."

Clarence House said the prince's message was inspired by his recent meetings with Christian Church leaders from the Middle East including the Coptic Pope.

The prince concluded his message by urging people to show love for those around them.

"Jesus summarises the 10 commandments into two requirements: that we should love God and love our neighbour as ourselves," he said.

"It is therefore my special prayer this Eastertide that they will be your guide and your inspiration."

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