Dean of Westminster defends inclusion of Muslim prayer in Abbey service

Westminster Abbey, London

The Dean of Westminster has defended the choice of a prayer in which the prophet Muhammad was described as ‘The Chosen One’ at the Abbey as “within orthodox Christian worship”.

Dr John Hall told Christian Today it was appropriate to offer hospitality to other faith traditions but this did not in any sense “compromise the form and orthodox character of our belief and proclamation.”

The Abbey, which is a Royal Peculiar under the personal jurisdiction of the Queen and outside the Church of England’s diocesan structures, was criticised by conservative Christians after a Turkish prayer was included in the annual Anzac Day service.

The service, held every year since 1954 and almost every year since 1916, is done with the Australian High Commission and New Zealand High Commission and this year marked the centenary of the ANZAC landings, part of the invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey during the First World War. Most of the troops involved were from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

Critics noted that God was thanked in the Abbey and referred to as Allah, and there was no problem with that because Allah is simply Arabic for The God. But the congregation also heard a prayer in Turkish which began “Bizleri yaratan” and included the phrase: “Muhamad Mustafa” which means “Muhammad The Chosen One”…