SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- CAIRO – Calls by a senior Church of England bishop to recite Qur’an during the opening of Prince Charles’s coronation have drawn the ire of traditionalist Christians who considered it a sign of “losing confidence”.
The gesture would be a “creative act of accommodation” to make Muslims feel “embraced” by the nation, bishop Lord Harries of Pentregarth was quoted by the Daily Mail.
Harries, a former Bishop of Oxford and a leading Church of England (CofE) liberal thinker, made his suggested about reciting the Qur’an at the next coronation service in Westminster Abbey during the House of Lords’ debate on Friday.
During the debate, the former Bishop of Oxford told congregants that the Church of England should take the lead in “exercising its historic position in a hospitable way”.
Promoting his suggestion, the bishop, who continues to serve as an assistant bishop in the diocese of Southwark, cited a civic service in Bristol Cathedral last year when holy Qur’an was read.
“It was a brilliant creative act of accommodation that made the Muslim high sheriff feel, as she said, warmly embraced but did not alienate the core congregation,” Harris said.
“That principle of hospitality can and should be reflected in many public ceremonies, including the next coronation service.”
Twenty years ago, Prince Charles said that he would prefer to be seen as ‘Defender of Faith’ rather than be known by the monarch’s title of ‘Defender of the Faith’.
At that time Charles said he “always felt the Catholic subjects of the sovereign are equally as important as the Anglican ones, as the Protestant ones”.
“Likewise, I think that Islamic subjects, or the Hindu subjects, or the Zoroastrian subjects of the sovereign, are of equal and vital importance,” the Prince added.
Criticizing Lord Harries’s suggestion, traditionalist Christian leaders warned that such calls might harm the British values.
“At a time when we are looking at what British values mean, we cannot have values in a vacuum,” said Andrea Minichiello Williams, a member of the CofE’s parliament, the General Synod, and head of the Christian Concern pressure group.
“British values stem from our Christian heritage.
“We cannot pretend all religions are the same, or have the same benefits and outcomes for the nation.”
Meanwhile, other traditionalists saw the idea of reciting the holy Qur’an as an indicator that the Church was “losing confidence” in its own institutions and traditions.
“Most people will be amazed at the idea that a Christian leader would consider the use of the Qur’an at a Christian service in a Christian abbey,” Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute think-tank said.
“People are just so disappointed when senior Church of England figures lose confidence in the claims of the Christian faith.”
For Douglas Murray, associate editor of the Spectator, the suggestion, if adopted, should provide a similar room for Hindus, Sikhs, and atheists.
“If there were to be a reading from the Koran at the coronation, surely as a matter of reciprocity, all mosques in the UK should have prayers for the King and the Armed Forces every week at Friday prayers,” Murray added.
Britain has around 2.8 million Muslims, making up 4.4 percent of the population, and many are concentrated in London.
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