King Charles met the religious leaders at a chapel at the Holy Ghost Cathedral during his visit to Kenya from 13 October to 3 November.
In his presence, the clerics spoke of how they had promoted peaceful co-existence and tolerance in their communities.
“He encouraged us to continue pursuing this path. He was keen to know if we also involve politicians,” Anglican Bishop Alphonse Baya Mwaro of Mombasa Diocese said.
Leaders from Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and African traditional religions—among others—have been uniting under the Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics to steer for peace. The network runs a peacebuilding programme known as Re-Invent.
According to Mwaro, the king's visit to the cathedral was equivalent to tracing the early steps of the Church Mission Society, which the monarchy—with support of the Church of England— allowed to start Christianity in Kenya.
“It is more of retracing the steps of the earliest missionaries. By interacting with us as Anglicans and other faiths, it affirms him as a defender of the faiths,” said Mwaro.
Mwaro welcomed the monarch’s visit to the historical mosque as a boost to the good relations between Anglicans (Christians) and Muslims in the region.
According to the bishop, when the German missionary Dr Johann Ludwing Krapf—the first Anglican missionary in Kenya—arrived at the coast in 1844, he was well received by the sultan (Muslim leader).
“If the sultan was hostile, there would be no Christianity here. It is significant [the visit to the mosque] because the journey of faith began with that favour from the sultanate here. From then, we have retained very good relationships,” said Mwaro.
Rev. Stephen Anyenda, a Baptist who leads the interfaith council said the visit meant he appreciated the clerics’ work at the grassroots.
“[It also means] he respects [religious] diversity; saying to himself and others [that] when people use faith approaches in dealing with conflict and development matters, solutions are found,” said Anyenda.
Alawy Abzein, secretary of the Mombasa Old Town Association, explained how the visit to the mosque in the old town was important for tolerance and understanding among the faiths.
“This implies that a good relationship can be created between Christians and Muslims. It’s always good for people to learn and understand each other’s faith and respect,” said the leader.
Earlier, Abzein had described the visit as a sign of the bridges that Christians and Muslims can build towards each other.
“This is a very significant visit. He has done it before. He has held interreligious talks between Christians and Muslims in the UK. That is a continuation of his legacy. I think it’s a very positive thing,” said the leader.