ABERDEEN in Scotland either has a very small mosque, or a very large Muslim population.
At any rate, when the Rev Isaac Poobalan saw that a bunch of them had spilled out of the neighbouring mosque, and were forced to offer their arses to Allah in the snow, he invited them into pray in his Episcopalian church – St John’s – which now has hundreds of Mohammedans using the main hall and chapels for prayer each week.
Unfortunately, Poobalan chose to publicise his open-door policy on Facebook – and was hit by a barrage of abuse from outraged commenters, most of whom appear to be Christians.
One user said that the church was “sharing Christ’s table with Satan”. Another predicted a “flood” of Muslims moving to Aberdeen to convert the church into a mosque and said Rev Poobalan needed to be given the “boot” before it was too late.
I would leave this so called ‘church’”. Allah is Satan, and no God.
But a defiant Poobalan said he would not sever his relationship with the nearby Crown Street Mosque.
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. These people have reacted spontaneously, but over time I hope they will change their minds.
There is a huge religious cultural gap between the two, and if it takes time for them to be brought together then that’s the way it is. With our media culture these days one can easily make comments and respond to things instantaneously, you just have to live with it.
One user even criticised Rev Poobalan for being a Good Samaritan to just be “liked” and said there was nothing “courageous” in his actions.
Rev Poobalan insisted he was not interested in a popularity contest.
What governed my human response was the Christian teaching ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ and that was honestly my first thought, ‘I have to help them as a neighbour’. Jesus Christ wasn’t one who wanted to be liked and I don’t expect people to like me or the Church for what we do.