Trondheim: Koran read during church service

For the first time, texts from the Muslim holy book, the Koran, were read during a service in the Nidaros Cathedral.

The reading was met with applause by the students of the Kolstad and Tonstad schools in Trondheim, who had congregated in the national cathedral for a peace service on UN Day Friday.

The texts were read by two students from Kolstad and one from Tonstad. They joined in after Tonstad students read famous Bible verses from the Old and New Testaments. Much of content was about seeking peace and justice – both in the Christian and Muslim text.

Faiza from Somalia referenced the prophet Muhammad’s call to “Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!” (41:34)

Laok from Iraq cited the prophet’s definition of the required way. It is to give a slave freedom and give food to the poor, according to the Koran. (90:13-14)

Parish priest Lars Sperre from Tiller congregation led the service together with colleague Bodil Slørdal of the Domkirken congregation. Sperre didn’t hide that he was proud of having been part of a historic event.

“By allowing the Koran’s message in our house of prayer, we wanted to show that this will be a service in the spirit of tolerance. We live in a multi-religious society and this must be expressed in the Church, says Sperre, who led a procession of participating students both at the start and end of the service.

The priest also said that the children play together without thinking that they follow different religions. The church must have the same attitude and not work divisively to indicate sharp differences between the religions.

“It is we adults who divide, while children unite and tear down borders,” comments Sperre.

He’s glad Tonstad and Kolstad – two schools with many immigrants – were the ones who took part in the peace service. The cultural plurality was illustrated by having the word “peace” said in the 18 different languages used by the students at the two schools.

The students contributed further by reading various human rights articles, which were added to the UN regulations 60 years ago. A speech was also given by Tonstad students Ingrid and Julie about peace prize winner Martti Ahtisaari.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Source: Adressavisen (Norwegian)


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