7:00pm Thursday 10th May 2012
By Reg Little
A ROYAL charter has been granted to Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, with Prince Charles hosting a celebration next week to mark the event.
The centre is due to open its multi-million pound new home in Marston Road at the end of next year. The project – originally costed at £60m – is already eight years behind schedule. But the centre has been given cause for celebration, after news of the honour granted by the Queen.
Royal Charters, which date back to the 13th century, are granted to bodies that work in the public interest and are judged to be pre-eminent in their field.
OCIS was created to promote teaching and research related to Muslim culture and civilization.
Prince Charles, the centre’s patron, has been a enthusiastic supporter since its foundation in 1985. He has twice delivered lectures at the centre and visited the 3.25 acre site where building work on its new home began back in 2002. He took a prominent part in the design of the Islamic garden.
The new centre, which includes a mosque, auditorium and lecture theatre, was originally due to be completed in 2004.
Money was donated by a number of individuals and governments, with the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia giving £20m.
But the need for additional fundraising has meant the opening date has been continually put back and the centre has remained based in George Street.
OCIS director Dr Farhan Nizami said: “This is an important moment. We are grateful to those who encouraged and assisted the centre’s development over more than 25 years.
“I’m confident that the importance of the centre will grow and it will make a unique contribution to a greater understanding of the Muslim world.”
Prince Charles will host the celebration at Clarence House, his London home, on Tuesday.
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