Inaccurate quote attributed to Prince Charles about women’s rights and Islam resurfaces

Quote circulating again on social media platforms ahead of Aurat March 2022

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Claim: In a speech at the Oxford Islamic Center, Prince Charles of Wales said, “The rights that my grandmother did not have until a few decades ago, Islam has given all those rights to women 1400 years ago.”

Fact: The quote attributed to Prince Charles is not accurate. During a speech in 1993, Prince Charles said, “The rights of Muslim women to property and inheritance, to some protection if divorced, and to the conducting of business, were rights prescribed by the Qur’an 1,400 years ago, even if they were not everywhere translated into practice. In Britain at least, some of these rights were novel even to my grandmother’s generation!” 

On 21 February 2022, Soch Fact Check received a link to a tweet that states the following:

“برطانیہ کے ولی عہد شہزادہ چارلس آکسفورڈ کے اسلامی سینٹر میں تقریر کرتے ہوئے اس کا اعتراف کرچکے ہیں کہ ’’چند دہائی قبل تک میری دادی کو بھی جو حقوق حاصل نہیں تھے، اسلام14سوسال پہلے وہ تمام حقوق عورتوں کو عطا کرچکا ہے‘‘۔
[Britain’s Crown Prince Charles has admitted in a speech at the Oxford Islamic Center that “The rights that my grandmother did not have until a few decades ago, Islam has given all those rights to women 1400 years ago.”]”

The tweet was posted by user @mughal224444 in response to a post by Aurat March Karachi’s official Twitter account. It was shared multiple times between 19 and 21 February. The post, with the same or similar caption, also made it to Facebook.

Fact or fiction?

Soch Fact Check found two speeches related to Islam delivered by Prince Charles; the first dates back to 27 October 1993 and is titled “Islam and the Environment,” while the second is from 9 June 2010, titled “Islam and the West.”

Prince Charles’ speech from 1993 was given at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, where he spoke about the “dangerously high” degree of misunderstanding between the Islamic and Western worlds and the need for both to “live and work together”.

Screenshot from the Prince of Wales’ website where the transcript of his 27 October 1993 speech during an event titled “Islam and the Environment” held at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies is available.

Soch Fact Check combed through the speech to find a reference to Prince Charles’ grandmother and identified the following quote:

“The rights of Muslim women to property and inheritance, to some protection if divorced, and to the conducting of business, were rights prescribed by the Qur’an 1,400 years ago, even if they were not everywhere translated into practice. In Britain at least, some of these rights were novel even to my grandmother’s generation!”

The quote being attributed to Charles in posts online is thus inaccurate and distorts the meaning of what the royal in fact said. According to the quote contained in the misleading posts, Prince Charles suggested there were some rights that his “grandmother did not have until a few decades ago”. The posts also makes it seem like he said “all those rights” that his grandmother was deprived of were provided for under Islam.

However, in reality, Prince Charles acknowledged that the Quran “prescribed” some rights to Muslim women but highlighted that they “were not everywhere translated into practice”. He also clearly stated that “some” — and not all — “of these were novel even to my grandmother’s generation”, which is not the same as saying Islam provided rights that his grandmother did not have until a few decades ago.

Soch Fact Check also conducted searches using the additional text (titles) featured in some of the misleading Facebook posts, which included phrases such as:

  • “یوم نسواں [Women’s Day]”
  • “اسلام میں عورت کا مقام [Women’s Place in Islam]”
  • “خواتین کے حقوق کا تحفظ ، اسلام میں مضمر [Protection of women’s rights lies in Islam]”
  • “عورت پر ظلم کس نے کیا ؟ [Who oppressed women?]”
  • “نسواں اور،،،،،،،،،، [Women and,,,,,,,,,,]”
  • “اسلام اور عورت [Islam and Woman]”
  • “په جنکو تعليم  پکار دې [Girls need education (in Pashto)]”

One of the phrases — “خواتین کے حقوق کا تحفظ ، اسلام میں مضمر” — combined with the words “عارف عزیز۔بھوپال [Arif Aziz-Bhopal]” turned up an article by Urdu journalist Arif Aziz that contained the inaccurate quote and was published in Urdu News on 30 October 2017.

 Aziz is a special correspondent at Nadeem, the oldest Urdu daily in Bhopal, a city in India’s Madhya Pradesh state, according to Two Circles.

Soch Fact Check found three Facebook posts with the inaccurate quote — from 2 March 2017, 22 April 2017, and 25 October 2017 — that predate Aziz’s piece. Soch Fact Check is unable to confirm if Aziz’s article in Urdu News was first published elsewhere and then picked up by the pages responsible for the March-Oct 2017 Facebook posts or if the Facebook posts did in fact predate the article.

Virality

The quote attributed to Prince Charles has been making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter since 2017, including in this post, which was published after the Urdu News article mentioned above. The posts on Facebook are accompanied by a variety of images, including some that denigrate the Aurat March (Women’s March) of Pakistan.

Some of the images accompanying the misleading posts on Facebook.

The Prince Charles quote resurfacing in the lead up to Aurat March 2022 is no surprise, with the women’s march frequently at the centre of disinformation campaigns. 

The inaccurate quote was shared here on Facebook in 2019, here and here in 2020, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here in 2021, and here, here, here, here, here, here, and here in 2022.

The quote was also shared on Twitter, here, here, and here in 2020, here in 2021, and here, here, here, and here in 2022. Twitter user @mughal224444 shared the quote six times — here, here, here, here, here, and here — in 2022.

Conclusion: The quote being attributed to Prince Charles in posts on social media is inaccurate. While Prince Charles did speak about women’s rights in Islam, the quote circulating online distorts what was in fact said by the royal in 1993.

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2 months ago

[…] multiple claims about Pakistan’s Aurat March and its organisers, including in reports on a quote by Prince Charles about women’s rights and Islam, allegedly blasphemous banners and slogans, doctored posters, and a rally by a group of religious […]

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1 month ago

[…] including viral posts claiming that a majority of Pakistanis agree the march should be banned, reports pertaining to a quote by Prince Charles on women’s rights and Islam, photos of allegedly […]

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