Muslims honour minister who stopped service to let them pray

Master musician and composer Ahmed Mukhtar tonight won the Alhambra award for excellence in arts at the Muslim News awards dinner in London, where the Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor was the guest of honour.

Of equal interest though was the award to the minister at St Giles cathedral, the High Kirk of Edinburgh, who was honoured tonight for his outreach to Scotland’s Muslims, and in particular for stopping a service after the Gulf War of 1991 to let Muslims pray in the cathedral.

The Muslim News citation for the Rev Gilleasbuig MacMillan says: ‘As the Minister of St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, Gilleasbuig MacMillan’s church is symbolically important because of the royal or official events and ceremonies held there. He is recognised for this award because of his determination to welcome Muslims to his Cathedral. In October 1991, St Giles held a Service of Repentance in memory of the victims of the first Gulf war, which was also attended by Muslims. Instead of simply allowing the Muslims to leave the service to carry out their prayers, Reverend MacMillan decided to stop the service twenty minutes after its start and let the Muslims perform their prayers in the Cathedral next to the altar. The Adhan, the Muslim call to the prayer, was made from the pulpit of the Cathedral and the prayers were performed in the midst of a Christian congregation of over 1,000.’

• Full story at The Times.