http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/regional/councillor_defends_prayer_walkout_1_2345737

Councillor leaves meeting to avoid Islamic prayer (rory.okeeffe@thenews.co.uk)

A CITY councillor has been accused of disrespect after walking out of a meeting – because a Muslim Imam read a prayer.

 Tory councillor Malcolm Hey left the council chamber immediately after a Christian prayer, just before Resident Alim, Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo, began an address to yesterday’s full meeting of Portsmouth City Council.

He returned when the prayer had finished and remained for the rest of the meeting.

He said: ‘I did so because we are a traditionally Christian country, so Christian prayers are read as a matter of tradition. But I don’t feel it’s appropriate for Muslim prayers to be said, as I don’t feel we worship the same God as Muslims, so I left.’

But other councillors, including the city’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Paula Riches, who invited the Imam to read to the council, objected to Cllr Hey’s actions.

Cllr Riches said: ‘It’s very disrespectful and I will tell him so. He objected by letter to the idea but it’s very disappointing he chose to do this.’

Cllr Hey, a Cosham councillor who is an openly devout Christian, said his action was not racially motivated.

But he is also a member of the city council’s standing advisory group on religious education, which aims to unite faith groups across the city.

Yasin Rahim, director of interfaith at Wessex Jamaat, said: ‘The Muslim community here is mature. We aren’t angry, we just regard this as a host who doesn’t know how to behave towards his guest. It’s a real shame. But we invite him to come to read a Christian prayer to Muslims at one of our prayer meetings. That way, he can experience what interaction between faiths can do.’ 

The Imam was invited to the meeting after contributing a prayer to Portsmouth’s remembrance service last November.

His prayer, which he read in Arabic and English, included the words: ‘Adorn us with the qualities of the righteous. And clothe us with the beauty of those who guard against displeasing You. And issue from our hands good to the people, O Lord. Make us speak with righteousness.’

He explained: ‘This was a chance to help with cultural integration. We have people of all faiths in Portsmouth, and we can understand each other better if we understand one another’s religious beliefs. It was an honour to be able to read the prayer to the council. I am sorry a councillor walked out.’

Cllr Riches hopes to be able to invite Catholic and Buddhist religious leaders to read prayers at subsequent meetings.

But Cllr Hey said: ‘I will leave for prayers by Buddhists or Hindus. They don’t worship the same God as us. I would stay for a Catholic or Jewish prayer, because they do.’
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My Reply to above:-

 Further to your recent article related to the Councillor who walked out during Muslim prayers, I’d like to share my comments below:-

Christians worship the same God as Muslims. I don’t understand why Malcolm says that Muslims and Christians worship different gods whereas Jews and Christians worship the same God.  Jews also don’t believe in the Trinity – in fact they had Christ butchered to death for alleged blasphemy.  Is he oblivious to the fact that Christianity, Islam and Judaism are all Abrahamic faiths and that we all (in our own ways) – Pray to the same God ? Although Muslims don’t believe in the Trinity concept – we still worship one God, as you can see from the verse below (and additional verses at the end of this msg) – we are very clear about one God.

Surah 112.  Al-Ikhlaas – The Unity

 1. Say (O Muhammad: “He is Allâh, (the) One.

2. “Allâh-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks).

3. “He begets not, nor was He begotten;

4. “And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.”

 A good Catholic friend of mine attends church prayer meetings where there are a number of people of alternative beliefs . He has never known anyone to walk out because of this. All of them stand up respectfully with everyone else but otherwise do not join in with the actual prayers. Non-Catholic Christians will join in with Christian prayers but remain silent for Catholic (Mary) ones. Although a devout Christian, he has been present at Muslim prayers and has even attended entire Protestant church services. Malcolm should be utterly ashamed of the action he has taken, especially since he is a member of the city council’s advisory group on religious education.

 Please feel free to publish excerpts of this e-mail in order to allow the general public to fully understand how all Muslims feel regarding this issue.

Regards,

Khalid Khan

Additional Refs:-

Surah 2 Al-Baqarah (2: 23-24) – The Cow

“If you have doubts about what We have sent down to Our servant, produce another surah equal to it, and call your witnesses, besides Allah, if you are telling the truth. If you do not do that – and you will not do it – then fear the Fire whose fuel is people and stones, made ready for the unbelievers.”

Surah 3 Al-Imran – The House of Imran

And when Allah said: O Isa, [Jesus] I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto Me and purify you of those who disbelieve and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve to the day of resurrection; then to Me shall be your return, so l will decide between you concerning that in which you differed.”

Surah 4 An-Nisa – Women

V157. That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-

V171. O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah  and His apostles. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah. Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.

Surah 15 Al-Hijr (15: 9) – The Migration

“We have sent down the Reminder, and We will preserve it.” 

Surah 17 Al-Israa’ (17: 88) – The Night Journey

“If both humanity and jinn banded together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could never produce anything like it, even if they backed each other up.

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