Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali Condemns Koran Reading At Anglican Cathedral Epiphany Service
Christians are familiar with the Bible texts that detail the conception and birth of Jesus to His mother, the Virgin Mary.
But they are not so used to hearing the Muslim version of the story read out in church. And especially not on Epiphany, which celebrates the incarnation of God as His son Jesus - a doctrine denied by Muslims.
Michael Nazir-Ali, a leading evangelical Christian in Britain, has now condemned the reading on a service at the Scottish Episcopal Church's Glasgow Cathedral last Friday.
The congregation at St Mary's cathedral heard the Muslim version of the Virgin Mary's conception of Jesus, from the Koran's Sura 19, sung by Madinah Javed. The passage explains how Mary gave birth after an angel told her God would give her a child.
Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet, and that He was a precursor to Mohammed rather than the Son of God.
Sura 19 states that Mary was "ashamed" after she gave birth, and that the infant Jesus miraculously spoke to her from his crib and claimed he was "a servant of God".
It denies Jesus was the Son of God.
A post on the cathedral's Facebook page describes the service as a "wonderful event".
It says: "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 post also shares a video of the recitation.
But Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester condemned the reading and called for discipline against those involved.
"The authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation," he said in a statement.
He also called for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to publicly distance the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion from the event.
" 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 said.
"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'."
Christian Today has contacted the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway for comment.