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Saturday, 27 April 2013
A Scottish church has become the first in the UK to share its premises with Muslim worshippers.
According to Daily Mail, 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.
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 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.