Cathedral defends its right to read the Qur'an

Thu 12 Jan 2017
By Antony Bushfield

A Cathedral which faced criticism for reading passages of the Islamic holy book during a service has defended its right to do so.

But asked by the BBC if he knew what the Qur'an said about Jesus, the cathedral's provost, Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, refused to answer.

Some Christians had taken to social media to complain about St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral's decision to read versus because they contradict the teaching of Jesus.

Islam says Jesus was not the Son of God and that he was not crucified. They accept, however, that he was born of the Virgin Mary.

The social media storm came about after the readings were given at a service to mark the feast of the Epiphany.

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A Muslim student, who was invited by the cathedral, read in Arabic from the chapter of Maryam, or Mary, which talks about the birth of Jesus.

The chapter states that Jesus should not be worshipped and that he is not the son of God. Although, it teaches that he is a prophet worthy of reverence.

At the time, the former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, was quoted by the BBC as saying: "Christians should know what their fellow citizens believe and this can include reading the Koran for themselves, whether in the original or in translation. This is not, however, the same thing as having it read in Church in the context of public worship.

"The authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation and exercise appropriate discipline for those involved."

In response, provost of the Glasgow cathedral, Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth said: "Such readings have happened a number of times in the past in this and in other churches and have led to deepening friendships locally, to greater awareness of the things we hold in common and to dialogue about the ways in which we differ."

There is an update to this story. Click here.

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