Queen Camilla 'thrilled' to be given gift of Quran on visit

Holy book was presented by a Midlands Muslim man who leads a group dedicated to promoting understanding between faiths

Queen Camilla receives a copy of the Quran from John Mustafa during a visit to Shrewsbury in England. AFP
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Britain's Queen Camilla has been given a Quran by the founder of a group dedicated to promoting understanding between faiths.

John Mustafa was pictured handing the specially bound copy to the Queen, during her visit to Shrewsbury.

He told The National she was “thrilled” to receive the gift.

Mr Mustafa, 66, is one of the founders of the Interfaith Forum and said the presentation was a symbolic gesture.

“She was thrilled and said ‘that’s absolutely brilliant', and I was really, really pleased not only for me but for all the Muslims who live in the town,” he said.

The retired restaurateur, who is originally from Bangladesh but has lived in Shrewsbury for 40 years, was at a display at the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings outlining the work of the forum when the queen dropped by.

Mr Mustafa said he was “very excited” after being told his proposal to hand over the Quran had been approved.

“I want to show the Muslim community that the queen is with us and she has taken something that we love to read,” he said.

“The Quran is in our heart and seeing her taking it from me as a gift is a gesture of solidarity towards the Muslim community and means a lot to me personally.”

Mr Mustafa said he was supposed to meet King Charles but said he wished the monarch and Catherine, Princess of Wales, who is recovering from abdominal surgery, a quick recovery, for which Camilla thanked him.

But he did reveal that he previously met King Charles, at the time prince of Wales, when he visited his restaurant while on a trip to a local Royal Air Force base.

Mr Mustafa said he and a local Anglican clergyman founded the Interfaith Forum in the wake of a backlash against the Muslim community across England, after the 2005 bomb attacks on London.

“One of my friends, who us a minister of the church, sat down with a few other friends and said we ought to do something about it,” he said.

“Up to now it’s getting stronger and stronger, and several hundred people come to our events. We try to learn from each other’s religions and to understand each other.”

King Charles has temporarily postponed public appearances as he undergoes treatment for an unspecified form of cancer.

He recently spoke about how he was “moved to tears” by public support he received following his diagnosis.

Updated: March 28, 2024, 12:52 PM