A Church of England diocese is defending All Saints Church in Kingston-upon-Thames after it hosted a joint "celebration" of Islam's prophet Muhammad, the Advent of Jesus and Christmas.
A Diocese of Southwark spokesperson said the event "enabled Christians, Muslims and others to meet together in order to promote better understanding, conversation, and relationships," Premier reported. "It was not a service, and the event broke no Canon law."
According to a flyer announcing the Dec. 3 event, it was to include a "provision for prayer at Asr and Maghrib" — two of the five daily Islamic prayers — as well as "the cutting of the Birthday Cake and Rizwan's 'High Tea.'"
In the title of the event, "Milad" (or Mawlid) refers to Muhammad's birthday.
What was the reaction to the event?
Writer Adrian Hilton wrote on his popular blog Archbishop Cranmer — named after a Church of England leader during the Protestant Reformation who was burned at the stake — blasted the joint event for Muhammad and Jesus, which "put the flags out for both, rejoicing in both, eulogizing both, solemnizing both, glorifying both, honoring both."
Hilton added that the event "exalted" Muhammad "along with plain old Jesus, because to have added any of his claims to divinity would, of course, have alienated many Muslims ... which wouldn’t have been very interfaith or sensitively missional, would it?"
He ended his piece by declaring, "Blessed are the syncretisers, for they shall be called the children of God."
Here's a look at All Saints Church, Kingston: