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Friday, 25 May 2007

Cathedral in the Eye

Westminster Cathedral has attracted the notice of Private Eye. In the current edition, there is a piece on page 12 "Music and Musicians" reporting on a new work by John Tavener, commissioned by the Prince of Wales that is to be performed in the Cathedral. According to the article:
It is based on the Koran and sets the 99 names of Allah to music, to be intoned over an hour and a half with choir, full orchestra and Tibetan gongs.
Lunchtime O'Boulez comments
To a liberal minded Christian this may all seem unexceptionable, even worthy. But it's treading dangerous ground, not least because no one seems to have done much research into what Muslims will think about giving the names of Allah full choral treatment in a Catholic cathedral. "It will be a respectful, reverent event and we're not anticipating problems," said a spokesman. So that's alright then.
He has a point. It is not so long ago that the Cathedral piazza (a public highway) saw another form of Islamic expression:

Photo: Joee Blogs

It may be that singing the names of Allah in the Cathedral is intended as a conciliatory gesture but I do hope that Lunchtime O'Boulez is wrong and that somebody has checked how this will go down with the Muslims. Webislam seem happy enough at any rate.

Of course, from a Catholic point of view, there are questions to be raised about the appropriateness of the initiative. I wonder what the Bishop of Cordoba would say. He has resisted requests from the Junta Islámica de España to use the Cathedral (a former mosque) for prayer, saying that it would generate confusion and lead to religious indifference. (Article in Typically Spanish)
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