Abuse After Cathedral's Quran Reading Prompts Police Investigation

Offensive comments directed at clergy at St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow, have prompted a police investigation after the Quran was read at a service last week.

Police Scotland confirmed it is investigating remarks after the Epiphany service contained a recitation from the Islamic holy book denying Jesus was the son of God – a key Christian doctrine.

A passage from the Koran was read at an Epiphany service at St Mary's Cathedral, GlasgowFinlay McWalter/Wiki

"Police Scotland will not tolerate any form of hate crime and encourages all communities to continue working together to ensure no one feels threatened or marginalised," a spokesman told Christian Today.

Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth invited the reading from Madinah Javed, a law student from Glasgow, at the January 6 service to celebrate Epiphany, the coming of the Magi to worship Jesus. 

But Javed went beyond the passage translated for the congregation in the service sheet to include verses that explicitly denied Jesus was God's son – a fundamental difference between Islam and Christianity.

It is not clear whether Holdsworth authorised the extra verses or whether he was unaware Javed had recited the controversial passage.

Holdsworth has declined to speak to Christian Today.

The Cathedral defended the reading in a statement online but did not comment on the declaration that Jesus was not God's son. 

"We listened with interest to the story that Muslims tell of the annunciation of Jesus in the Quran," the statement read.

"Such readings have happened a number of times in the past in this and in other churches and have led to deepening friendships locally, to greater awareness of the thing we hold in common and to dialogue about the ways in which we differ."

The Cathedral initially posted a video on Facebook of the reading describing it as a "wonderful event".

The post has since been deleted but it read: "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."

A video of the incident on YouTube prompted outrage from some Anglicans with calls for him to quit. The video has also been removed.

Rev James Paice, a leading member of the conservative GAFCON UK grouping, called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to intervene in an open letter to Lambeth Palace.

This came after the former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, also called for action.

""The authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation," he said in a statement.

Rev Peter Ould, a conservative Anglican from Canterbury, wrote in a blog post: "It's one thing to share examples of Muslim scriptures in a non divine service context, it's another to specifically incorporate them into Anglican liturgy."

Madinah Javed has been contacted for comment.