Scottish Cathedral Allows Reading of Quran Verse Denying Jesus Is God's Son

Quran recitation in St Mary's Cathedral in Scotland, posted on January 8, 2017.
Quran recitation in St Mary's Cathedral in Scotland, posted on January 8, 2017. | (Photo: AnglicanTV Ministries YouTube screencap)

An Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland, has stirred controversy after it allowed the reading of a verse from the Quran that denies Jesus Christ is God's Son during a recent church service. 

St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral provost, the Very Rev. Kelvin Holdsworth, has defended the service, BBC News reports, arguing that it was aimed at fostering relationships between Christians and Muslims.

The Eucharist service in question marked the feast of the Epiphany at the Glasgow cathedral, and included a guest reader who read from Surah 19 in the Quran, which claims that Jesus is not the Son of God, and that He should not be worshiped.

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Breitbart News shared a YouTube video of the recital, in which the speaker narrates the Islamic account of the birth of Jesus. The account, which is not found in Christian Scripture, claims that Mary was "ashamed" after giving birth to Jesus, and that He miraculously spoke from the cradle as an infant.

A translation of verse 35 in the Quran reads in part: "It befitteth not the Majesty of Allah that He should take unto Himself a son," and then verse 36, which has the infant Jesus saying: "And lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him. That is the right path."

Some church leaders, such as the Right Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, criticized the Quran reading in a church setting as "ill-advised."

"Christians should know what their fellow citizens believe and this can include reading the Quran 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," Nazir-Ali said.

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

The Very Rev. Kelvin Holdsworth, the cathedral's provost, also defended the readings, however, and said that they were aimed at helping build relationships between Christians and Muslims in the city.

"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," Holdsworth said, according to BBC.

There have been increasing interfaith efforts made in the past year when it comes to welcoming refugees and opposing Islamic extremism, with top Roman Catholic and Muslim religious leaders coming together in the United States in August to declare that both Christianity and Islam love life and oppose terrorism.

"The belief in One God unifies Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Serving God requires working for the welfare of all His creatures and the common good of humanity. Religious leaders must provide moral guidance and speak out against injustice and anything that is harmful to humankind," the declaration read at the time, as found on on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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