Church in Scotland opens its doors to Muslim worshippers

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A church in Scotland opened its doors and welcomed hundreds of Muslims for Friday prayers, reported the BBC.

Worshippers from the neighboring Syed Shah Mustafa Jame Masjid mosque share St. John’s Episcopal Church in Aberdeen with Christians up to five times a day.

The church’s rector opened his doors to Muslims because many were forced to pray outside on the streets due to lack of space in the mosque.

“It was a very cold day, like today, and when I walked past the mosque I saw dozens of male worshippers praying outside, on the streets, right near the church,” Reverend Isaac Poobalan, who grew up in India surrounded by Islam, told the BBC. “Their hands and feet were bare and you could see their breath in the freezing cold.”

“Jesus taught his disciples to love your neighbor as yourself and this is something I cannot just preach to my congregation, I had to put it into practice.”

The report said that Reverend Poobalan asked his congregation for permission before allowing Muslims to pray in the church, adding that Muslims were at first reluctant to accept the invite.

“We are so grateful to the church for giving us a space for our prayers,” Worshipper Mozhid Sufiyan told the BBC. “It was very difficult, especially for the elderly, to pray outside on the floor.”

“Father Poobalan has been very kind to us all by inviting us into his church.”

The Episcopal Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, Dr. Robert Gillies, said the arrangement at the church should serve as a lesson for the rest of the world.

“What we are doing here, is something local that has global significance,” he said, adding: “We have demonstrated that Christians and Muslims do not have to agree with one another. But they can learn to respect each other's different beliefs and actually come to get along and even like one another.”

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