A RECITAL of the Muslim call to prayer at Blackburn Cathedral has caused controversy as it has emerged that it was performed without permission.
It was part of a performance of Karl Jenkins’s The Armed Man (A Mass For Peace) as part of remembrance commemorations this month.
The event became contentious when a video of the call to prayer was posted on the internet. There were about 400 people in the cathedral at the time.
The Dean of Blackburn, the Very Revd Peter Howell-Jones, said that the call to prayer was not appropriate for the cathedral, but said that it would work “wonderfully well” in a secular setting. “This was not a cathedral-organised event: rather, it was a private booking using the cathedral as a concert venue.
“The Armed Man is sometimes performed in Christian settings but without the call to prayer, and we will tighten up on our booking procedures to ensure we are fully appraised of the content of private bookings before they go ahead in future.
“It is a well-known composition that focuses minds on the importance of peace to all religions, including Christians, Muslims, and Hindus. It has been performed in a wide variety of settings.
“By staging their production, the organisers were also making the statement that people of all religions, including many Muslims, died fighting for their country throughout our history. This is particularly important to remember in a multi-faith town like Blackburn, and at the time of the 100th anniversary of the First World War Armistice.
“So, while it would not be appropriate to stage a full production of The Armed Man again at the cathedral that included the Muslim call to prayer, I would certainly support another production being held in future in an appropriate secular setting, where I think it would work wonderfully well.”