The shocking news that Recap Tayyip Erdogan has been invited to the opening of the new Cambridge Mosque

The shocking news that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been invited to the opening of the beautiful new Cambridge mosque tomorrow has meant that, with the deepest sadness imaginable, I will simply not be able to attend the event. I was going as the minister of a local free-thinking, democratic, liberal-religious community (the Cambridge Unitarian Church) joyfully to celebrate the opening of the building with local Muslims. But I cannot, will not, take part in an event that willingly draws into the wider Cambridge community a world leader whose entire way of being in the world runs totally counter, not only to everything for which my own religious tradition stands, but also counter to everything for which a modern, democratic, cosmopolitan city such as Cambridge stands.

Naturally, in the future I will continue to engage in a positive and friendly way with the mosque and it's associated communities but tomorrow, I fear, I will be absent from what should have been a joyous occasion for the whole city.

In the mad world in which we live I was deeply concerned that this story might not be true but I have checked on the website of the Turkish President and, alas, it seems painfully true. You can read the page yourself at the following link (or click on the picture below) to read the text.