Prince Charles says radicalisation of young people 'alarming'

Media caption,
Prince Charles has voiced concerns about radicalisation in the UK

The Prince of Wales has described the extent to which young people are becoming radicalised as "alarming" and one of the "greatest worries".

In an interview with Radio 2's The Sunday Hour, Prince Charles spoke of his hopes to "build bridges" between different faiths.

He also spoke of his "deep concern" for the suffering of Christian churches in the Middle East.

He is currently in Jordan on a six-day tour of the region.

The prince arrived in the capital Amman on Saturday night and held talks with King Abdullah II on Sunday.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Prince Charles was greeted by King Abdullah II upon his arrival at the Royal Palace

After a visit to a refugee camp, the prince congratulated the Jordanians on being "wonderfully kind and hospitable" for putting so many Syrian refugees up in their country.

He visited the Za'atri camp, near the Jordanian border with war-torn Syria, and toured a supermarket and a children's centre.

The camp is home to 85,000 people and the prince spoke to families and students. He also spoke to former British police officers who have been training Jordanian officers in community policing.

'Constructive paths'

On the radicalisation of young people, Prince Charles says: "Well, of course, this is one of the greatest worries, I think, and the extent to which this is happening is the alarming part.

"And particularly in a country like ours where you know the values we hold dear.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Prince Charles chats to pupils at the refugee camp, alongside International Development Secretary Justine Greening

"You think that the people who have come here, [are] born here, go to school here, would imbibe those values and outlooks."

"The frightening part is that people can be so radicalised either through contact with somebody else or through the internet, and the extraordinary amount of crazy stuff which is on the internet."

He told the BBC programme he believed part of the reason some young people are radicalised is a "search for adventure and excitement at a particular age".

The prince also discussed the work of his charity The Prince's Trust in combating radicalisation.

He said: "What I have been trying to do all these years with the Prince's Trust is to find alternatives for adolescents and people at a young age, for constructive paths for them to channel their enthusiasm, their energy, that sense of wanting to take risks and adventure and aggression and all these things.

"But you have to channel them into constructive paths."

The Radio 2 programme covers visits by the prince to Armenian, Roman Catholic Chaldean and Syrian Orthodox churches in the UK, and contains accounts from members of these denominations who have had to flee persecution in Syria and Iraq.

He said: "I particularly wanted to show solidarity really, deep concern for what so many of the Eastern Christian churches are going through in the Middle East.

'Protector of faiths'

"Christianity was founded in the Middle East which we often forget. From a morale point I hope it showed they were not forgotten. I wish I could do more. Many of us do wish we could do more.

"I think what doesn't bear thinking about is people of one faith, a believer, could kill another believer. That's the totally bewildering aspect in our day and age."

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Prince Charles visited the supermarket in the refugee camp, which is essentially a small town

He suggested that when he becomes king, he may still be sworn in as Defender of the (Christian) Faith. There had been speculation that the title could be changed to encompass all faiths.

However, he said he believed an important part of the role was to be a "protector of faiths", defending every religion in multicultural Britain.

During the interview, the prince also considered how different communities could live alongside each other.

He told the programme: "I think the secret is that we have to work harder to build bridges and we have to remember that our Lord taught us to love our neighbour, to do to others as you would do to you and just to go on despite the setbacks and despite the discouragement to try and build bridges and to show justice and kindness to people."

'Activist prince'

The broadcast comes after a new book claiming the prince wants to redefine the monarchy was published.

The book's author, Catherine Mayer, said he has an "extraordinary relationship in the Gulf."

She added: "It's partly just because he's a prince. Also he gave a speech on Islam in 1993 in which he talked about Islam not having a monopoly on extremism and he talked about the Christian crusades, and he talked about the good things in Islam."

But anti-monarchy group Republic said the prince's views must be subject to scrutiny.

Graham Smith, Republic's CEO, said: "MPs in particular need to face up to the new reality of an activist prince and must be free to openly challenge what Charles says."

• The Sunday Hour was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on 8 February.

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