Charles Bayliss, Express, January 12, 2017
The congregation at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Glasgow, heard the Islamic version of the Virgin Mary’s conception of Jesus, sung from the Koran’s Surah 19 to mark the feast of the Epiphany.
The verse, sung in Arabic at the cathedral, claims that Mary was “ashamed” after she gave birth to Christ and that Jesus miraculously spoke from his crib and claimed he was a “servant of God” – both details which were not recorded in the Bible.
Verse 23 of the translated verse reads: “She said, ‘I am so ashamed; I wish I were dead before this happened, and completely forgotten.’”
The girl singing the passage finishes by reciting verse 35 and 36, which translates as: “It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, ‘Be’, and it is.
“He also proclaimed, “God is my Lord and your Lord; you shall worship Him alone. This is the right path.”
A post on the cathedral’s Facebook page said the service was a “wonderful event”.
It added: “The congregation was also 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.”
The event, which celebrates the Jesus as the Son of God, was criticised by retired Anglican Michael Nazir-Ali.
The former Bishop of Rochester said: “The authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation.”
He also called for Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to distance the Church of England and the wider Anglican communion from the event.
He added: “Christians should know what their fellow citizens believe and this can include reading the Koran 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.
“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 church has previously entered the foray of politics, and held a “forum conversation” regarding the EU referendum last year.