Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan visited Regent’s Park College last weekend to take part in a conference marking the fifth anniversary of ‘A Common Word,’ an open letter from Islamic scholars to Christian leaders, appealing for peaceful resolutions to differences and focusing on the similarities between the religions. The conference was attended by representatives and experts from all three Abrahamic faiths and was organised by the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture.
The Prince, who has served as the Regent in the absence of the King, is also Chairman of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman and one of the principal authors of ‘A Common Word.’ As a member of the Hashemite Royal Family which currently rules Jordan, Prince Ghazi claims to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. His keynote speech focused on the theme of love in the scriptures of the three religions.
Sulman Iqbal, Chair of the Media and Politics Committee of Oxford University Islamic Society (OUISoc), said, “The OUISoc supports free and open discussion, to that end it welcomes the chance to engage with Prince Ghazi at the talk.” He further added, “Every Muslim has a duty to represent Islam, the OUISoc therefore does not express a view on the claims of any particular family to represent Islam in a special capacity.”
Dr. Robert Ellis, Regent’s Park College Principal, gave a speech at the formal hall welcoming the Prince. He said that it was “a privilege for Regent’s Park College to host this event.” Vicky Lim, a 3rd year History and Politics student said, “After more than two years at this college, I was beginning to think it misleadingly named, it being neither in Regent’s Park nor a park for regents. It was a great relief therefore to have royalty frolicking around our quads and honouring our high table.”
When asked to comment on an Oxford College hosting a member of the Jordanian Royal Family, a spokesperson for Oxford University Amnesty International Society observed that “twenty activists have been arrested in Jordan since July as a result of peaceful protest, some with charges against them as weak as ‘insulting the king’.” Ben Hudson, a Classics and English finalist commented, “I suppose that if we can screw a monarch out of the money they’ve screwed out of someone else and put it to a good use, that’s not such a bad thing.’