Posts Tagged ‘Muslims’
Bill brought a local paper with him this morning, his intention being to show us an article about an old friend. By the time we read it, our main task of cleaning out and feeding the hens was done and, with time to spare, we read the whole paper. And there they were! Every edition brings demands for one ban or another from the bossy busybodies who seem to have nothing more to do than tell everyone else how to live their lives. Today they want a campaign against fast-food eaters, Red Bull drinkers, those who chew gum and those who smoke. It seems that only breathing is likely to escape their censorious eyes.
I indulge in none of those activities, but am so sick and tired of the curtain-twitchers that I am almost at the point of taking them up merely to show that this is still a democracy. On a national level the aggressive intolerance of the minority is becoming ever more prevalent. A couple of days ago I wrote of the action by the National Secular Society which has succeeded in preventing Bideford Town Council doing something it has done for centuries – holding a short prayer service at the start of its meetings. The atheist former councillor who pressed the case argued that the council had no right to “impose” its religious views on him, conveniently ignoring the fact that no one had forced him to attend the prayers, and failing totally to see that it was he who was seeking to impose his views on others, not the other way round.
And such busybodies find easy victims amongst a wide range of organisations. In recent months we have had bans on staff wearing crosses and badges, even on people reading bibles at their desks during lunchhours. It was undoubtedly the growing tendency of the bossy ones to mind other people’s business that led Baroness Warsi to yesterday speak out against what she called “militant securalism”.
It is unsurprising that it has taken a Muslim member of the cabinet to speak out clearly and forcefully on the importance of faith in the life of the nation; followers of Islam tend to be less mealy-mouthed about their beliefs than many Christians. And she is right. Today Lady Warsi is leading a ministerial delegation to the Vatican.
Lady Warsi argues that society will be healthier if people feel “stronger in their religious identities and more confident in their creeds”. That means “individuals not diluting their faiths and nations not denying their religious heritages”. She makes an important point. Whether we like it or not, our history and culture are formed by the Christian faith. It is at the core of who we are. It is too easy to forget this, largely because politically correct fawning by public bodies over the sensitivities of other faiths, and anti-faiths, has left many Christians feeling inhibited about asserting and celebrating their own beliefs. When Royal Mail restored the nativity to its Christmas stamps it seemed to regard it as an act of great bravado, it wasn’t. It was simply a reflection of what most people believe about Christmas.
I cannot claim to be a churchgoer, and rather doubt that to be a true definition of being a Christian. But I have long since lost resentment at dictatorial attitudes by the various faiths, they no longer exist. The days when the Church attempted to ban cinemas and shops from opening on Sundays are but a distant memory. Sadly its example of increased tolerance is not being followed by others.
If democracy is your thing it is impossible to do other than admire Baroness Warsi. She has warned of the dangers of instincts that are “deepy intolerant” and has pointed out that such attitudes have historicaly been the hallmark of totalitarian regimes. She was basing her attack mainly on intolerance as it effects religious beliefs, but she could equally have been speaking of any form of intolerance, any form of unacceptance of what others do.
Always provided that what they do does not harm others, everyone should be free to do, wear or say whatever they wish. And all those who try to impose their codes on others should do us all a favour. They should improve their self understanding and shut up once and for all!
THINGS PEOPLE SAID ABOUT APPEARANCE; ”Charles de Gaulle looks like a female llama surprised in her bath”….Winston Churchill “Andre Gide was very bald with the general look of an eldery angel travelling incognito”….Peter Quennell “Glamour is that indefinable something about a girl with a big bosum”……Abe Burrows “People on horses look better than they are, people in cars look worse than they are”……Marya Mannes “I never forget a face but in your case I’ll make an exception”…..Groucho Marx “My genitals are like a sort of travel version of Linford Christie’s”….Frank Skinner “Ian Hislop looks like King Edward – the potato not the monarch”…..Paul Merton “He had a smile on his face but it was as thin as airline coffee”…….Kinky Friedman “Where lipstick is concerned, the important thing is not colour, but to accept God’s final word on where your lips end”…….Jerry Seinfield
When Eliza Manningham-Buller appeared before the Chilcot inquiry recently she warned that the Bush/Blair invasion of Iraq threatened to radicalise, for want of a better word, some amongst a generation of young people who saw our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as being an attack upon Islam. The result was, claimed the former head of MI5, that the threat from terrorism had ‘increased substantially’.
Her words inevitably increased the sense of fear that is damaging race relations in this country. Of course we always had the mindless bigots and low-life BNP who seem to lack a self undertsanding that would tell them that their beliefs are illogical, but now we face the much less manageable prospect of fear of the unknown amongst the huge decent and peaceful community. And this is a tragedy for the vast majority of Muslims whose only desire is to live their lives in peace. Two of our allotment group are of that faith and I am proud to claim one of them as my best pal. It pains me deeply to witness his reaction each time that the media features a new security alert or incident.
And so I shared his delight at the news of a massive anti-terror campaign launched last week. This was lead by al-Hidayah 2010, a three-day event attended by 1,300 Muslims, mainly young men and women. Devotees of Muslim scholar Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, gathered at Warwick University to be taught practical ways of countering extremist views in their schools, universities and communities. The theme was engagement with people expressing radical views and attendees were directed to passages of the Qur’an to help them to argue against them.
The camp follows the publication by Qadri, founder of the moderate Minhaj-ul-Quran International movement, of a headline-grabbing ‘fatwa on terrorism’, a 600 page volume claiming to remove decisively any theological justification for Islamist terror. A spokesman, Shahid Mursaleen, expalined that ‘we are trying to train young people here to counter the argumants they hear from radicals, to give them the knowledge so they can question the extremists and contradict their ideology’. Delegates paid £200 to attend but such was the demand that many more were turned away.
In his opening lecture Dr Qadri argued that radicalism was a slow process that began with an ‘ideological infection’. This could be treated before the sufferer turned violent if fellow Muslims spoke to them and showed their philosophy to be wrong. The reaction from large numbers of those who attended was very positive. Typical was Mohsin Khan,19, from Oldham, who said ” I want to learn more about my religion, about why terrorism is wrong, about being a better human”.
The next stage of the campaign is now underway. A fleet of vehicles is to travel the country trying to counter extremism. The vehicles are in effect mobile libraries being filled with books and DVDs. They will be manned by an eager army of volunteers and ‘will knock on every door’.
The huge venture is billed as ‘the UK’s first anti-terror camp’. Let us hope that we all come to share Mohsin’s desire to learn more about being better humans. Strip away fear and prejudice and we all are simply part of one humanity. Initiatives such as this are better than a thousand laws from posturing politicians. It is truly a giant step forward toward a happier, more integrated and safer Britain.
RAF CUTS ARE ILL-THOUGHT THROUGH!
The apparent decision to impose the majority of defence budget cuts on the RAf is illogical and dangerous. It seems that the fleet is to be reduced to 200 fighter planes, the lowest number since 1914. Perhaps the decision is influenced by the fact that the Taliban does not have an airbourne capability but many other countries that pose an equal threat do.
Being in a position to ensure that hostile aircraft are not allowed to penetrate British air space is as vital to our future security as the ability to fight land-based battles. In fact many experts contend that it is infinitely more important than the Trident capacity.
Whether draconian cuts are the right way to resolve the economic crisis is a debate for economists, ensuring the defence of the realm should be in the hands of military experts not muppets.
The average Bobby will lose up to £5000 a year under plans to scrap overtime and bonuses. Without doubt there is scope to change outdated practices but is this really the right time to slash pay given that the number of officers is to be drastically reduced?
It would be an easier package to sell were it not for the fact that the Banks are gleefully announcing huge increases in the bonuses they pay themselves. Not only have the coalition bean-counters taken over the decsion making they seem determined to allow their pals- who caused this mess- to escape scot-free!
YESTERDAY’S ANSWERS ; 1 The Bee Gees 2 Michael Angelow was the first streaker at a Test Match in England.
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1 Which long running soap opera screened its 1000th episode in August, 1970? 2.The first woman to climb Everest, Junko Tabei, was from which country?