Clergyman defends St Mary's Cathedral Koran reading

By Callum May
BBC News

  • Published
St Mary's Episcopal CathedralImage source, Thomas Nugent
Image caption,
Local Muslims were invited to join a service at the cathedral

The senior clergyman at a cathedral in Glasgow has defended a service at which passages from the Koran were read from the lectern.

St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral has been criticised because the verses contradict Christian teaching about Jesus.

The service was held on the feast of the Epiphany when western Christians mark the visit to the infant Jesus by wise men.

The cathedral provost said the reading was aimed at promoting understanding between the two faiths.

St Mary's invited local Muslims, who also revere Jesus as a prophet, to join the service. A student, Madinah Javed, read from the lectern in Arabic from the chapter of Maryam, or Mary.

The chapter tells the story of the birth of Christ to the virgin Mary, and includes the Islamic teaching that Jesus is not the son of God and should not be worshipped, which has provoked criticism from some Anglicans.


The former Bishop of Rochester, the Right Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, said: "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."

The cathedral's provost, the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, said readings of the Koran in the cathedral were part of efforts to build relationships between Christians and Muslims in Glasgow.

He 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."

Asked if he had known what the Koran verse specifically said about Jesus, Mr Holdsworth declined to comment further.

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