The Scottish cathedral that allowed a girl to read a passage from the Quran denying the divinity of Christ should apologise to Christians “suffering dreadful persecution at the hands of Muslims”, the Queen’s chaplain has said.
Breitbart London reported last week how a girl sang Surah 19, which specifically denies that Jesus was the Son of God and says He should not be worshipped, during a service to St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow.
Now the Rev Gavin Ashenden, one of the chaplains to Queen Elizabeth II, has said the reading could be described as “blasphemy”. He said the cathedral should apologise to Christians who are persecuted by Muslims.
In a letter to The Times, Rev Ashenden says: “Quite apart from the wide distress (some would say blasphemy) caused by denigrating Jesus in Christian worship, apologies may be due to the Christians suffering dreadful persecution at the hands of Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere.
“To have the core of a faith for which they have suffered deeply treated so casually by senior Western clergy such as the Provost of Glasgow is unlikely to have a positive outcome.
“There are other and considerably better ways to build “bridges of understanding”.”
He also wrote in a post for the Archbishop Cranmer blog that it was highly unlikely a Christian would be invited to proclaim the divinity of Christ at Friday prayers in a mosque.
“There was no dialogue in the Epiphany Eucharist; only a refutation of what Christians hold most dear and upon which salvation depends.
“In over 30 years of interfaith conversations, I have never yet come across a Muslim community which allowed those passages in the Gospels acclaiming the divinity of Christ to be read in Friday prayers.”
As outrage grew over the reading, the head of the Scottish Episcopal Church said he was “deeply distressed at the widespread offence”, saying Christians cannot offend their own religion in the name of inter-faith dialogue.
“We approach others with open hearts but we stand in the truth of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” he said.
However, the cathedral’s provost, Kelvin Holdsworth, was unrepentant and even suggested that those who were offended were actually attacking him because he is gay.
“Having a recitation from the Qur’an in a Christian cathedral in worship is not a new thing,” he wrote in a blog post.
“So it has indeed come as something of a surprise to find accounts of last week’s service appearing online and stirring up the most most incredible pot of hatred I’ve ever encountered [sic].
“This same Qur’anic reading has been given before in services and no outcry has happened. Is it because this is in a cathedral run by a gay man? Is it because the recitation was given by a young woman?
“Clearly those things are factors as they feature in some of the abuse.”