25 Feb 2015

Bishop suspended over comments

6:01 pm on 25 February 2015

A South Island Bishop who made controversial comments about Jews and Muslims has been suspended from his duties.

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Photo: 123RF

The Anglican Bishop of Te Waipounamu, John Gray, made statements about the Holocaust and Al Qaeda last month, which he said were accidentally uploaded to YouTube.

He invited representatives of other faiths to Te Waipounamu's annual Ministry School and during a session called 'Hard Talk' he told the Jewish speaker that the Holocaust "should have taught you a lesson".

Bishop Gray then appeared to hold the two Muslim guests personally responsible for the slaughter inflicted by ISIS and Al Qaeda and asked what they were doing about it.

The Archbishops of the Church issued a public apology following the remarks.

A diocese spokesperson said Bishop Gray will not hold the position of bishop while complaints were being investigated.

The Bishop of Te Tai Tokerau, Te Kitohi Pikaahu, is providing leadership of the diocese in the meantime.

The Right Reverend Gray said Muslim and Jewish guests who were present held no animosity towards him.

He said his view was one that they should talk more about.