A passage from the Koran denying that Jesus is the Son of God has been read during a Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) service.
The passage also claims that Mary was “ashamed” after giving birth and that Jesus spoke to her from his crib.
The Muslim student who read it had been invited to do so at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Glasgow.
Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, slammed the incident and called on Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to publicly distance the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion from it.
“The authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation,” he said.
The former Bishop added that it was “particularly insensitive” for the passage to be read at 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 Primus of the SEC, the Most Revd David Chillingworth, admitted that the church was “deeply distressed at the widespread offence that had been caused”, but failed to apologise for the incident.
The Very Revd Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, claimed the church service was part of efforts to strengthen ties between Christians and Muslims in the area.
He said: “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 things we hold in common and to dialogue about the ways in which we differ.”
One of the Queen’s chaplains, the Revd Dr Gavin Ashenden, referred to the reading as “blasphemy” and a “rather serious failure”.
In a letter published in The Times, Revd Dr Ashenden said: “There are other and considerably better ways to build ‘bridges of understanding’”.