A passage from the Koran that denies one of the central tenets of the Christian faith was sung aloud at a cathedral service in Scotland.
The passage from Surah 19, which specifically denies that Jesus was the Son of God and says He should not be worshipped, was sung during a Eucharist service at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow to mark the feast of the Epiphany.
A video of the recital was posted on YouTube showing a girl singing the passage in a typical Islamic style. It narrates the Islamic account of the birth of Jesus, which includes the claim that Mary was “ashamed” after giving birth, and the infant Christ miraculously spoke from the cradle – something not found in Christian scripture.
She then concludes by singing verse 35, which states in translation: “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.”
The cathedral praised the reading in a Facebook post, calling it a “wonderful event”.
However, retired Anglican bishop Michael Nazir-Ali strongly condemned it, saying it was especially inappropriate for the feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the revelation of Christ as the Son of God.
Christian Today quotes him as saying: “The authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation.”
“Christians should know what their fellow citizens believe and this can include reading the Qur’an 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,” he added.
“It is particularly insensitive to have this passage read in Church on the Feast of the Epiphany when we celebrate not only Christ’s manifestation to the gentiles but also his baptism and the divine declaration, ‘you are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased’.”
The Scottish Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which also includes the Church of England and America’s Episcopalian Church.
The cathedral’s Facebook page also proudly publicises a press report on the provost’s Christmas sermon, in which he compared U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump to the biblical King Herod, who ordered the massacre of children.