Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, above, has called on the Scottish Episcopal Church to ‘discipline’ those responsible for allowing a Muslim woman to recite from the Koran at an Epiphany service at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow last week.
According to this report, Nazir-Ali angrily reacted after a video showing Madinah Javed reading from the Koran was posted on Facebook. Javed wrote on FB:
The congregation was …. reminded during the service that it is not only Christians who give honour to Jesus. We were joined by friends from two local Muslim communities.
Nazir-Ali pointed out in a statement issued today that Muslims believe that God had “adopted” Jesus, rather than having fathered him.
This seems to have the heresy of adoptionism in the background and is not what Christians believe.
He said that the passage read at St Mary’s appears to be from the Sura known as Maryam or Mary and is about the birth of Christ.
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.
They [Christians] believe he is the eternal Word proceeding from the Father and son in this sense, as well as because of his unique birth and his resurrection from the dead. 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 authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation and exercise appropriate discipline for those involved. The Archbishop of Canterbury should also distance the Church of England and the world wide Anglican Communion from this event.
As these comments indicate, the Qur’an explicitly denies that God can have a son and that Jesus is divine. The Church of England should exercise discipline for those involved and make clear that Qur’an recitation should play no part in Christian worship.
It’s a strange and erroneous matter for the clergy leadership of a cathedral to allow a reading from the Quran which later goes on to deny the divinity of Christ. Of course it is nice to invite people of other faiths to be present for worship, but sadly this recitation reveals a naivety and the growing tendency towards a lack of confidence in the uniqueness of Christ.
My Muslim friends have a strong confidence in their faith and would not be at all happy if a passage like John chapter 1, which affirms Jesus is God, was read out in their mosque. So why did the leadership of the cathedral allow a recitation from a book which Muslims believe is the final unaltered revelation from God which supersedes the Bible?
He made this declaration on his official Instagram page @SanusiLamidoSanusi, saying:
Many people are unaware of the fact that one cannot be a Muslim without loving Jesus (Peace be upon him) known in Arabic as Isa (Alayhis Salam).