In a recent debate in the House of Lords, a retired clergyman suggested that verses from the Quran be read at the coronation of the next monarch as a gesture of “inclusive hospitality” toward British Muslims. Such an idea, however well-intentioned, is absurd for many reasons, argues Douglas Murray, not least that British Muslims are unlikely to reciprocate:
[I]ncluding passages from the Quran in the next coronation of a monarch is a mistake because of the old problem of reciprocity. . . . It is worth asking why British Muslims should have their scripture represented in the coronation of the new monarch, when many, in their mosques, will not even pray for the well-being of that monarch. In synagogues in the UK, British Jews every week have a prayer in their services for the long life and happiness of the queen. It is a moving and heartfelt moment, not to mention a clear signal given to any doubters that Jews in Britain are utterly loyal to the state.
So why should British mosques not have some similar prayer? Whenever I have mooted this to Muslim friends in Britain, they have always dismissed the idea as if it were an example of a willful provocation on my part even to raise the issue. The underlying theme is that everyone knows this would be impossible. But why? If Muslims in Britain want to show that they are loyal to Britain, why not take a leaf out of the Jews’ book and have a prayer in every Friday service up and down the land for the queen as head of state, head of the Church of England, and head of the armed forces? It would be a wonderful sign.