The head of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev David Chillingworth has condemned abuse received after the reading of a passage from the Quran in a Glasgow cathedral.

He said in a statement: "The Scottish Episcopal Church is deeply distressed at the widespread offence which has been caused. We also deeply regret the widespread abuse which has been received by the cathedral community.

"In response to what has happened at the cathedral, the Scottish Episcopal Church will bring together all those who are involved in the development of interfaith relations.

"Our intention will be as a church to explore how, particularly in the area of worship, this work can be carried forward in ways which will command respect.

"Our desire is that this should be a worthy expression of the reconciliation to which all Christians are called."

St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral said it had received a number of "offensive messages on Facebook and other platforms".

It added that they had been reported to Police Scotland and they were encouraged by the support received.

Police Scotland confirmed that officers were investigating the messages.

"Police Scotland will not tolerate any form of hate and encourages all communities to take action to ensure no-one feels threatened or marginalised," said a spokesperson.

The row focused on a passage being read out from the Quran at the Glasgow cathedral about the Virgin birth.

A Muslim student, Madinah Javed, 19, read from the book of Maryam, which includes the Islamic teaching that Jesus was not the son of God. Islam teaches that Jesus as an important prophet – second only to Muhammad, but not that he was divine.

However, this caused a backlash and widespread abuse, according to BBC News.

Other online commentators were quick to defend the attempts at bringing people together from different faiths.

"I fear there is some serious Islamophobia going on here. Would folk react like this if the texts were Hindu or Buddhist," said one.

"I suspect not although I doubt it we would get an honest answer. Given the efforts of so many Muslim communities to reach out a hand of dialogue, the negative Xn [sic] reaction is shameful."

The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, the cathedral's provost, defended the reading, saying it was aimed at promoting understanding between Christians and Muslims.