"It is surely time to ask if we can come to a view that balances the traditional attitude to the sacred nature of life on the one hand with, on the other, those teachings within each of the sacred traditions that urge humankind to keep within the limits of Nature’s benevolence and bounty."Elsewhere in his speech, entitled "Islam and the Environment", the Prince spoke about:
"this poor planet of ours, which already struggles to sustain 6.8 billion people, will somehow have to support over 9 billion people within fifty years. In the Arab world, sixty per cent of the population is now under the age of thirty. That will mean, in some way or other, 100 million new jobs will have to be created in that region alone over the next ten to fifteen years."Firstly, it's disappointing that the Prince of Wales demonstrates his ignorance of "nature's benevolence and bounty" to which his speech makes reference. Dr Nicholas Eberstadt, for example, in his paper "Too many people?" points to the mass of evidence that rapid population growth has actually helped increase the availability of resources. Dr Eberstadt is a leading demographer, who holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute.
Secondly, the Prince of Wales refers to "the traditional way of life within Islam" and its "important principle we must keep in mind is that there are limits to the abundance of Nature".
With great respect, I would inform the prince, based on SPUC's experience of lobbying and working with Muslim nations for nearly two decades at the United Nations, that traditional Muslims will unequivocally defend and uphold the sacred nature of the lives of the Royal Family - and their right to life from conception till natural death. There's nothing in traditional Islam which suggests that the sacredness of the lives of the Prince of Wales and the Royal Family, including their inviolable right to life, should be balanced against other considerations: such as the growing population of the world and poverty in much of the world including in Britain.
Thirdly, it would help enormously if the Prince of Wales could spend some time reflecting on the real face of population control: the nature and consequences of China's coercive abortion/birth control policy. It's a policy funded by regular donations from over 180 countries worldwide, including over 40 million US dollars from the UK in 2007 and it's a population control policy in which the United Nations' participation is very well-documented. On the same day as the Prince of Wales's speech in Oxford, Lord David Alton was speaking in a House of Lords debate on the European Union and China. He said:
“China also has the highest female suicide rate of any country in the world. It is the only nation in which more women than men kill themselves. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 500 women a day end their lives in China. This extraordinary suicide rate may well be related to the campaign of forced sterilisation and compulsory abortion. I was particularly grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Verma, who is on the Front Bench today, for the reply that she gave me yesterday to a Written Question, where she said that last year alone £770,000 had been provided by DfID to Marie Stopes International, and that this will be reviewed as part of the process of looking at overseas funding. I would point out to your Lordships that MSI might claim to disapprove of compulsion but recently gave a red-carpet welcome in its London headquarters to Ms Lin Bin, Minister of China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission, which is responsible for the one-child policy. I also hope that the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, will be able to confirm that the Government will follow the previous Government in upholding the case of Chen Guang Chen, the blind human rights activist who in the Xiandong province exposed the compulsory abortion and sterilisation of more than 130,000 women and is now into his fourth year in prison for having done so.”It's the population controllers, not those who uphold the sacredness of human life, who are failing to "keep within the limits of nature's benevolence".
You can also read a synopsis of Dr Eberstadt's paper here and the paper itself at the link above.
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