I have been so impressed in the short time I have been here by the palpable energy and vitality of the congregation and the community, and by everything the East London Mosque is doing to help and work with the people of Whitechapel and the surrounding areas.

Your Royal Highness, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, thank you so much for inviting me here today. It is a great honour for me to have the opportunity to visit one of this country's oldest and most distinguished mosques during the holy month of Ramadan.

It is an important time for prayer and reflection - I can only apologise for any disruption I may have caused during my visit.

Having said that, I have been so impressed in the short time I have been here by the palpable energy and vitality of the congregation and the community, and by everything the East London Mosque is doing to help and work with the people of Whitechapel and the surrounding areas.

The extension project - the new London Muslim Centre which Prince Mohammad Al Faisal and I have launched today - should be a wonderful new community facility that will be open to everyone in the area.

I was extremely impressed to learn that the funds to buy the land were put together from the modest contributions of thousands of people who believed in the project's importance.

I am particularly glad that I have a personal involvement with this project, and other community outreach activities of the East London Mosque, through my Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts Department (VITA) at my Foundation just down the road in Shoreditch.

The Director, Khaled Azzam who, I am delighted to say, is here today, has I think done an excellent job in offering VITA's skills not only in the form of design consultancy for the project, but also for the work of bringing traditional Islamic crafts and design techniques to school children in the local community.

I very much hope that my Foundation can help similar schemes in other communities in the British Isles in the years to come.

I can only urge you all to have a look at the display of work by the Mulberry School children upstairs before you leave. I happen to believe it is particularly important that we encourage our children to learn from and appreciate the many cultures that make up their personal heritage.

If we can provide children with more practical skills at the same time - such as woodworking, calligraphy, an understanding of geometry or the principles of architecture - then what VITA is able to impart will, I hope, help to provide them with a more harmonious core to their lives.

This, and the other community projects in which the London Muslim Centre is involved - including the social housing that I had the opportunity to open earlier this afternoon - are, if I may say so, a tremendous example to others - to other mosques, but also to churches, to synagogues, to temples, or to gurdwaras.

The place of worship is, inevitably, a centre of community life, and remains so despite what some people would have us believe about the increasing secularism of our society. At a time when traditional values and institutions, above all the family, are under threat from a range of different outside pressures, a place where we can come together and share ideas, aspirations and feelings is incredibly important.

This is not an exclusive thing - the East London Mosque, for example, has excellent and close relations with the synagogue next door - and opening doors to the wider community can in fact be a way to reduce those usually artificial barriers between faiths and communities that often exist only because of the peddling of outmoded or sensationalist stereotypes by the ignorant.

I know that everyone in Whitechapel, Muslim or otherwise, will be welcome to be a part of the London Muslim Centre.

This can only be right. After all, the history of the East London Mosque Trust shows many non-Muslim Trustees amongst its ranks. On a deeper level, the Christian, Jew and Muslim shares on an inner religious plane many of the same spiritual beliefs - in one divine God, in the transience of our earthly life, in our accountability before God for our actions, and in the assurance of life to come.

We also share many key social values - compassion, tolerance, respect for family and the community, belief in justice and the search for greater wisdom and understanding. In fact, there is, I believe, far more that unites than divides the different faiths in this country, if only people would spend the time to investigate. Nobody has a monopoly on the truth.

To recognise that is, I believe, a first step to real wisdom, and a vital blow against the suspicion and misunderstanding that too often characterises the public relationships between different faiths.

I shall not go on, Ladies and Gentlemen, as the important moment when we break our fast together is approaching.

However, I do want to finish by congratulating the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre on all that you are doing, in which I shall continue to take the closest personal interest through VITA and my Foundation. May God's blessings go with you.