A Church of England church in London is being criticized for holding a service to mark the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and "looking forward to the birthday of Jesus." The service included an Islamic prayer and the cutting of a birthday cake.
The All Saints Church in Kingston-upon-Thames held the service, "Milad, Advent and Christmas Celebration," on Sunday, according to The Christian Institute. Milad is the Islamic festival commemorating the birthday of Muhammad.
The service had been billed as an event "marking the birthday of Muhammad and looking forward to the birthday of Jesus."
Christian blogger Archbishop Cranmer slammed the church for "glorifying" the prophet, saying it "put the flags out for both, rejoicing in both, eulogizing both, solemnizing both, glorifying both, honoring both."
"Muhammad gets his prophethood, while Jesus gets neither His prophethood nor His priesthood; neither His kingship nor His messiahship," the blogger wrote. "It's the exalted prophet Muhammad along with plain old Jesus, because to have added any of His claims to divinity would, of course, have alienated many Muslims (if they hadn't already been alienated by the haram celebration), which wouldn't have been very interfaith or sensitively missional, would it?"
Earlier this year, an Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland, stirred a controversy after it allowed the reading of a verse from the Quran that denies Jesus Christ is God's Son during a church service.
St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral provost, the Very Rev. Kelvin Holdsworth, later defended the service, arguing that it was aimed at fostering relationships between Christians and Muslims.
During the service, Surah 19 in the Quran was read which claims that Jesus is not the Son of God, and that He should not be worshiped. A translation of verse 35 reads, in part: "It befitteth not the majesty of Allah that he should take unto himself a son." And then verse 36 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, including the Right Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, criticized the Quran reading.
"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.
In September, St Andrew's Church in Holborn, London, apologized for allowing a Turkish fashion designer, Dilara Findikoglu, to use its altar as a runway for models who donned outfits with demonic symbolism, including inverted crosses and devil horns, for what was publicized as a satanic fashion show.