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The church that's opened its doors to Islam: Christians roll out welcome to Muslims who were having to pray in the wind and rain because their mosque was so small
  • The Syed Shah Mustafa Jame Masjid mosque was too small to fit everyone in
  • Church minister Rev Isaac Poobalan saw worshippers praying outside
  • Now he has handed over part of St John's Episcopal Church in Aberdeen
  • Bishop says: 'It would be good to think we can change the world'

By Helen Lawson

PUBLISHED: 12:33, 18 March 2013 | UPDATED: 13:52, 18 March 2013

A Scottish church has become the first in the UK to share its premises with Muslim worshippers.

St John’s Episcopal Church in Aberdeen now welcomes hundreds of Muslims praying five times a day in their building as the nearby mosque was so small that they were forced to worship outside.

The minister of St John's, Rev Isaac Poobalan, has handed over part of the church hall to Chief Imam Ahmed Megharbi and the imam has led prayers in the main chapel.

Rev Poobalan said today that he would not be true to his faith if he did not offer to help.

 
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Sheikh Ahmed Megharbi, left, and Rev Isaac Poobalan, right, behind the altar at St John's Episcopal Church, Aberdeen, which is also being used as a place of worship for Muslims

 

 
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Rev Poobalan, right, said he would not be true to his faith if he did not offer to help his neighbours with their overcrowding problem

He said: 'Praying is never wrong. My job is to encourage people to pray.

'The mosque was so full at times, there would be people outside in the wind and rain praying.

'I knew I couldn’t just let this happen - because I would be abandoning what the Bible teaches us about how we should treat our neighbours.

'When I spoke to people at the church about the situation, someone actually said to me this was not our problem, but I had seen it with my own eyes, so it was a problem.

'When I spoke to the imam there was some hesitation on their part too, because this has never been done before.

'But they took us up on the offer and it has been a positive relationship.

 

Rev Poobalan, 50, said being surrounded by Islam while growing up in India helped break down the divide for worshippers of two religions praying together in Aberdeen.

Sheikh Ahmed Megharbi of the Syed Shah Mustafa Jame Masjid mosque said: 'What happens here is special and there should be no problem repeating this across the country.

'The relationship is friendly and respectful.'

St John's is part of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which is part of the Anglican Communion and distinct from the presbyterian Church of Scotland.

The Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, the Right Rev Dr Robert Gillies said that this relationship could be the start of a change in dynamics between the two faiths.

Dr Gillies said: 'It would be good to think we can change the world.

'Most of us most of the time feel we can’t so don’t bother.

'But sometimes, someone has a vision we can do something of global significance on a local scale.

'This is what is happening between St John’s and the mosque in its grounds.

 
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St John's Episcopal Church in Aberdeen is believed to be the first in the UK to share with Muslims

 
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Sections of the church hall have been handed over to the mosque and the imam has led prayers in the chapel

'Everyone can do something locally and if more were to do so then something big might just begin to happen globally.'

Dr Gillies said that the 'eyes of the world' were now focused on the two faiths represented in the building on the city’s Crown Terrace.

Although the Christian church regards Jesus as the son of God, the Muslim faith views him as a key prophet.

Even with differences like these, there can be a mutual respect, said Dr Gillies.

The relationship between the mosque and St John’s has developed over the past few years.

On Christmas Eve 2010 both opened their doors for prayers, food and socialising.

In 2011, the church and mosque teamed up to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA.

Verses were read from both the Bible and the Koran to commemorate those who died.

There have been cases of Christians allowing Muslims to pray in their churches in parts of America.

In 2011, two Florida churches were criticised for opening their doors to Muslim groups.

But Church leaders believe the move in Aberdeen is a first for the United Kingdom.

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pos to the brown priest 

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Question is, would our Islam brothers return the favour if the shoe was on the other foot?

 

Pos the sediment though

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Question is, would our Islam brothers return the favour if the shoe was on the other foot?

 

Pos the sediment though

I imagine most of the daily mail comments follow this rhetoric

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In that case I retract my question

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Question is, would our Islam brothers return the favour if the shoe was on the other foot?

 

Pos the sediment though

 

Sadly I'm going to say nope..

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In that case I retract my question

it was your initial reaction

stick wit it

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Question is, would our Islam brothers return the favour if the shoe was on the other foot?

 

Pos the sediment though

no point even asking this q tbh

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someone try it

Who's Christian here?

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its not really about muslims/christians though is it, just about what an individual would do eg what that reverent did

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there are already plans for a unification of religion thats well underway and go far beyond this

 

ur people in saudi and the vatican have signed up to it

 

one govt

 

one religion

 

one order

 

oh buts its all just a 'conspiracy'

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its not really about muslims/christians though is it, just about what an individual would do eg what that reverent did

 

yep this is why....my initial reaction was completely negative and in hindsight was designed to spur hatred etc etc 

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link?

 

King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue

 

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Jus waitin for the alien invasion now one all the world leaders r in position init to bring us all together against our 1 common enemy

Oddly enough I say this with only 1 3rd irony

Everything else is coming true

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there are already plans for a unification of religion thats well underway and go far beyond this

 

ur people in saudi and the vatican have signed up to it

 

one govt

 

one religion

 

one order

 

oh buts its all just a 'conspiracy'

 

 

1 ARDA

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its not really about muslims/christians though is it, just about what an individual would do eg what that reverent did

yep this is why....my initial reaction was completely negative and in hindsight was designed to spur hatred etc etc

U can't design something in hindsight

Also dm comments say nothin of the sort

Seems like THAT comment was designed to spur

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its not really about muslims/christians though is it, just about what an individual would do eg what that reverent did

 

yep this is why....my initial reaction was completely negative and in hindsight was designed to spur hatred etc etc 

what are you saying? that this was done to spur hatred? or are you saying that was just your initial thought?

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The King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue was founded to enable, empower and encourage dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures around the world. Located in Vienna, the Centre is an independent, autonomous, international organisation, free of political or economic influence.

:/

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:/

 

it all starts out as a discussion.

 

 

and has gone beyond that now

 

200 senior delegates from around the world ended a week long interfaith meeting at Stanford on Friday, predicting they had given birth to a movement as well as a spiritual institution: the United Religions

 

independent? how?

 

free from political influence? but was built by a saudi prince and endorsed by the pope?

 

keep telling yourself that.

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its not really about muslims/christians though is it, just about what an individual would do eg what that reverent did

 

yep this is why....my initial reaction was completely negative and in hindsight was designed to spur hatred etc etc 

what are you saying? that this was done to spur hatred? or are you saying that was just your initial thought?

sometimes you do something but considering the situation it might be inappropriate, I was trying to play devils advocate as I do in most situations but in this case there was no real purpose in doing so because it was besides the whole point of the sediments of the one persons actions as aposed to his beliefs/creed etc

 

I dont have hate towards anyone tbh but certain type of people could use what I said as a vehicle to push their own agenda aka your average daily mail reader and thats long

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its not really about muslims/christians though is it, just about what an individual would do eg what that reverent did

yep this is why....my initial reaction was completely negative and in hindsight was designed to spur hatred etc etc

U can't design something in hindsight

Also dm comments say nothin of the sort

Seems like THAT comment was designed to spur

I see what your saying bro, and its all open to interpretation which is fair enough however like I said I have no issues personally, just dont want to be classed in the same category as them people with some hidden agendas and chip on their shoulders

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so basically youre a troIl

yep

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