How pathetic. This makes me so angry I could just spit.
First some background: The Times of India provides some info on the Reverend’s history and his motivation for offering to share his church’s space with his Muslim neighbors:
Reverend opens church doors for Muslims
…”Secular India taught me to look at every religion with equal respect. My inheritance and the celebration of religions in India where Hindu, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims celebrate and live side by side, irrespective of colour or creed was a significant factor for my growth,” Rev Poobalan told TOI in an exclusive interview from Aberdeen.
Rev Poobalan is now working towards turning the garden that divides the church and the mosque into “a paradise for people of different religions to pray in quiet and peace.”Rev Poobalan told TOI “The church and the mosque are next to each other. One bitterly cold day, I saw Muslims praying in the open with their bare hands and frozen feet. I could almost see their breaths. I thought to myself that this is wrong. I took permission from my church council to ask Muslims to come and pray inside a part of the church which does not get used on Fridays. Initially, the Islamic community was hesitant. But the number of Muslim worshippers started to gradually increase and now it’s common.”
Poobalan’s father was part of the chaplency in CMC Vellore hospital. “I grew up seeing people from all religions walk into the chapel to light a candle and pray. It taught me that prayer transcends religion and everyone actually prays to a single God.” […]
Rev Poobalan is now working towards turning the garden that divides the church and the mosque into “a paradise for people of different religions to pray in quiet and peace.” […]
Video: Here’s a report from STV News in Scotland. (It’s not embeddable, sorry.)
Before I move on to the article about the despicable trolls, here’s the church’s website and Facebook—perhaps the decent people out there, regardless of whether or not they’re “believers”, can take a few moments to send the Reverend some words of encouragement & thanks to counteract all the hate being directed at him. I left Facebook a long time ago, but I intend to email him as soon as I finish this Page because he doubtless could use some kindness right about now. Now, sadly, on to the haters:
Internet ‘trolls’ target priest who allows Muslims to pray in church
A priest who has allowed Muslims to pray in his church has been hit by a barrage of abuse by internet “trolls”.
St John’s Episcopal Church in Aberdeen became the first church in the UK to share their building with Muslims after Rev Isaac Poobalan saw members of a neighbouring mosque praying outside in the snow because of a lack of space.
Hundred of Muslims now pray in the church’s main hall and chapel every week, but the news has not been well received by some Christians, who have taken to the church’s Facebook page to blast the decision.
One user said that the church were “sharing Christ’s table with Satan” before others another predicted a “flood” of Muslims moving to Aberdeen to convert the church into a mosque and said Mr Poobalan needed to be given the “boot” before it was too late. […]
Mr Poobalan said he would not sever his relationship with the nearby Crown Street Mosque.
He said: “I keep seeing these Facebook comments coming up on my email account, but I will not back down. We have developed a relationship with the mosque and we will not be breaking that up. […]
Update: Unfortunately, I decided to temporarily suspend this Page a couple of days after it was published because, as our own wrenchwench eloquently put it in her comment #60 below, it quickly began to mirror what happened with the good Rev. Poobalan, albeit on a much smaller scale. Now that the commenting window has closed, I’m reinstating it now in the hope that others—regardless of their religion or lack of it—will come along and take away something positive from it.