An invitation to a Muslim scholar to teach at Oxford’s University Church of St. Mary the Virgin on Oct. 19 has drawn criticism.

The Guardian reported that Monawar Hussain, who received an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honors last year, spoke at the invitation of Oxford University’s vice chancellor, Louise Richardson.

The Diocese of Oxford reports it received 12 complaints about the message, largely in response to a post on the Archbishop Cranmer weblog by Adrian Hilton.

A statement by the Diocese of Oxford said Hussain was “most welcome” to speak following the Eucharist, adding: “Monawar is not the first person from another faith community to be invited to preach the university sermon. His presence on Sunday reflects the strong commitment of the church, university and other faith communities to interfaith engagement.”

Hussain, a Muslim tutor at Eton College, is the founder of the Oxford Foundation, which promotes religious and racial harmony.

John Martin

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