Speaking positively about Islam and Muslims and publicly disagreeing with burqa bans in Europe, King Charles usually expressed his opinions freely during his service as the Prince of Wales.
Now that he has ascended the throne, Muslims believe he has an important role to play in challenging negative narratives, by offering a message of unity and inclusion.
“We also hope the King will build upon his own legacy as Prince of Wales, acting upon his desire to be a defender of faith, and continuing to champion the right of faith groups to practice … freely in Britain,” Zara Mohammed, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, told ABC News.
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“Moreover, as we look towards the reign of King Charles III, we hope for continued constructive engagement with Muslim-led organizations and British Muslim communities from across the UK.”
The new king’s accession to power followed the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest serving monarch passed away at the age of 96 after reigning for 70 years.
The reign of King Charles comes at a time when research, released this year, showed Muslims were the second “least liked” group in the UK after Romani and Irish travelers.
“In an age when misunderstandings about the Muslim religion are widespread, we welcome the fact that the new head of state has a long record of sympathy for Islam, having made many statements in favor of better coexistence, respect and understanding,” English Islamic scholar Abdal Hakim Murad said.
“It is important for Muslims to appreciate that the beauty of their religion is understood by significant figures in the British establishment.”
In Australia, Muslim have mixed views about the new king and what his appointment means to the Muslim community.
For Adel Salman, president of the Islamic Council of Victoria, he believes discussing Islam with public figures will help correct misconceptions about the faith.
“It is great to build and improve the relationship and the perception of the monarchy amongst lots of communities in Britain and around the world,” Salman said.
“But … [King Charles III] can’t take a political position because that’s not his role.”
On the other hand, Musawer Ahmad Bajwa, a member of Muslim Youth Australia, said she expects the king to take a “neutral” position on political matters, so he does not “cause controversy and conflicts”.
“Even if King Charles may have voiced opinions in the past for all sorts of causes or charities, now he is the King … a lot of his duty demands that he be neutral towards everyone,” he said.
Muslim leaders hope the King’s past words prove to be a lasting message of reconciliation.
“The Islamic and Western world can no longer afford to stand apart from a common effort to solve their common problems,” he once said.
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