Prince Charles calls for inter-faith tolerance

Prince Charles is calling for greater tolerance of other cultures after September 11, far right gains in the French elections and the rise of the British National Party.

He says it is time to restore values such as good neighbourliness and finding time for others.

He is launching a campaign to boost respect and understanding between faiths and communities.

Flanked by 23 leading religious figures including Christians, Muslims and Jews, Charles said it is a "tragedy" that faiths are so divided when they have so much in common.

The campaign, Respect, forms part of the Prince's contribution to the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The prince said: "Over the past year, we have seen, internationally, nationally and locally, all too many examples of intolerance to others.

"Tolerance is an easy word to pronounce, but it seems to be very difficult to enact in our lives. And yet it is such a tragedy that when the various faith communities have so much in common, its members should so often be divided by the different ways we have of interpreting the inner meaning of our existence."

Though he did not refer specifically to examples of intolerance, his remarks are being taken in the context of September 11, the crisis in the Middle East, Jean-Marie Le Pen's success in the French elections and cultural clashes in Britain such as the Bradford riots. The BNP is also campaigning in many local elections this week.

A spokesman for the Prince says the Respect launch had been in the pipeline for three years, "but the Bradford riots, September 11 and all these things can't help but make it more timely".

Before the Prince spoke, Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow, who was compering the event, at Birmingham's International Convention Centre, said the initiative was poignant "in the aftermath of the events in France and the strife in the Middle East".