Queensland Intercultural Society (QIS) hosted a
Friendship and Dialogue Ramadan Iftar Dinner
at Parliament House at the Premiers Hall,
Queensland Parliament House last Monday.
The Hon John Mickel MP,
the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in the
Queensland Parliament (a role he will relinquish
after he retires at the next State elections),
received the invited guests.
The aim of the Iftar Dinner was
to enhance and deepen the relationship between
Muslims and members of the wider community.
Invitations were extended to parliamentarians,
journalists, consul generals, senior members of
academia and faith and community leaders.
Mr. Ahmet Ozcelik,
principal of the recently established Resha
College (Algester) was the Master of Ceremonies
for the night.
The keynote address was delivered
by Prof Greg Barton, professor of
Indonesian studies in the School of Political
and Social Inquiry at Monash University, who
travelled from Melbourne to attend the function.
Prof Barton spoke on the dignity and wisdom that
Tariq Jahan showed during the aftermath of his
son's death (see Around the Muslim World with
CCN below for the full story). He also
talked about the much maligned traditional,
"old-fashioned" communities, who were, in his
opinion, often by nature among the more tolerant
of groups of people and that "terrorism and
fundamentalism were modern mid-twentieth century
concepts responding to modern anxieties". Prof
Barton concluded his address with an overview of
Fethullah Gulen movement and the role that
ordinary people were able to play though
individual activism as their contribution to
transforming society through education, the
building of schools and inter-faith dialogue.
The QIS annual "Building Bridges"
award, acknowledging individuals and/or
organizations that have contributed their time,
energy, leadership, and dedication to the cause
of intercultural dialogue, peace, tolerance,
community service and understanding, was
presented to Mr. David Forde, independent
candidate for the seat of Stretton, and Ms
Galila Abdelsam, director of the Islamic
Women's Association of Queensland for their
tireless and committed efforts in engaging and
interacting with the different communities and in
serving the needs of the Muslim community
The evening concluded with
presentations of certificates of appreciation by
Minster for Transport, Ms Annastacia
Palaszczuk, to the many sponsors of the
The Islamic Council of Queensland
Inc (ICQ) will start a series of workshops
starting on September 14 aimed at countering the
radicalisation of Muslim youth.
An introductory workshop geared towards
community leaders will be held at the Islamic
College of Brisbane, 45 Acacia Rd, Karawatha, on
September 14, from 6.30pm.
These workshops will be jointly funded by the
ICQ and the Attorney-General’s Community
Resilience Building Program.
All interested parties are
welcome to register their interest in the
dinner-included event which has been organised
to introduce the rationale behind the workshops
to different cultural community leaders.
ICQ believes that Islamic militants and radicals
hide amongst the Muslim community. While open
debate has raged in the media about Islamic
militancy, the Islamic community has generally
shunned this debate. It is time the community
had this debate and openly. Community leaders
have been cautious in openly condemning
militancy and extremism of any sort in Islam for
fear of personal reprisals.
While the wider Muslim community
has erroneously hoped that the problem of
radicalisation would die a natural death by not
directly confronting it as an issue directly
involving the Muslim community, terrorist
elements have made serious inroads into the
youth via web based media.
YEAR hopes to change the passive
resistance of the Muslim communities to one of
proactive involvement and empowerment of the
youth to be able to say no to radicalisation
without fear of repercussions knowing that the
State and the community is behind them in
fighting religious intolerance and
radicalisation. While Queensland has been
relatively untouched by the same levels of
radicalisation seen in NSW and Victoria, ICQ
sincerely believes that prevention is better
ICQ encourages leaders of all different Islamic
cultural groups to participate in the inaugural
event on September 14.
Anyone wishing to attend is
requested to contact ICQ before September 12 to
allow for catering.
The co-ordinator for the series of workshops,
ICQ President, Mohammed Yusuf, said the
workshops would encourage Muslims to be able to
live as constructive and peaceful Australian
citizens as is expected by the ethos of Islam.
“The Prophet of Islam was a mercy
to mankind. His entire life was dedicated to
bringing about peace amongst warring communities
for the greater good,” Mr Yusuf said
“The key message ICQ wants to get
out to our community, specially the youth, is
that they will be fully supported in their
endeavors to resist the approaches of radical
groups and gangs. Our objective is to make our
participants aware of how they can identify ways
through which the radicalization process takes
place and what they as individual law abiding
Australian citizens and residents can do to say
no to such processes” he said.
During the workshop ICQ will have prominent
Australians, both from the Islamic community and
the non-Islamic communities, to speak to
participants about a range of issues, including
the process of radicalization, the support
available to those who may feel disenfranchised,
and the need to make Australia truly a home and
refuge from the atrocities around the globe.
The general objectives of the
workshops will be to:
• to identify young people at risk of
radicalisation, provide them with support and
create opportunities for early intervention;
• address issues of identity, sense of belonging
and cultural isolation, which can be factors
leading to violent extremism;
• challenge extremist messages and ideologies,
including those perpetuated online, and provide
avenues for the non-violent expression of views
and encourage participation in our democratic
• change passive resistance to radicalisation in
the Muslim community to proactive involvement
and empowerment for youth to be able to say no
without fear of repercussions knowing that the
State is behind them in fighting religious
intolerance and radicalisation.
For further information please
contact the Project Officer, Yunus Rashid, mob
0402023550 or email
Visiting American conservative commentator,
Muslim Australian author and human rights advocate,
Whistleblower academic and Wikileaks author,
Brisbane’s Most Awarded Asian Restaurant over 22
years... Won Master Chef Award!
Oriental recently won the “Top Gong” in the
Australian Culinary Federation Brisbane Salon
Culinaire ( Modern Asian Challenge ) cooking
competition. For the past 22 years, Michael’s
Oriental has won more than 20 Awards including
the prestigious Australian Golden Plate Award,
presented by the Governor of Australia in
“We have one of the best team of chefs, Chef Leo
Lou has over 35 years of experience and has been
in charge of preparing Traditional 12 courses
Wedding Feast for up to 1,000 people in Malaysia
& Singapore and all our food are Halal ” Michael
Nee (pictured second left) said.
Chef Leo Lou and his team have
already won 5 times in the cooking competition
in Malaysia and Singapore and this is his third
award in Australia. “I am very proud and
honoured to work in the biggest and Best Asian
Restaurant and Function Centre in Brisbane”,
said Chef Leo Lou.
Michael Nee told CCN, “It doesn’t
matter how long we have been operating or how
many awards we have won, we are still only as
good as our last meal and we still have only one
chance of getting it right first time, that is
how we survive for over 22 years!”
robust response in Somalia...
In what has been labelled the
worst drought in 60 years, the recent
drought in the Horn of Africa has led to the
emergence of a tragic humanitarian
The lack of rain in the
region, 80 percent less than in normal
situations, has led to the failure of
existing agriculture which has thus resulted
in severe food and water shortages.
The death of about 60 percent
of the livestock, which represents the
second source of livelihood for people in
The Horn of Africa, has also exacerbated the
Increasing food prices have
led to many farmers and herders not being
able to purchase food for their sustenance.
The only clouds that these
people see are clouds of dust and the only
storms that they experience are storms of
The failure of the
international community in finding a long
lasting solution to the political problems
in Somalia has also exuberated an already
Al Imdaad Reports
Compassionate Ramadhan: AMARAH’s community meal with our
less fortunate friends
By Nora Amath
Local Brisbane Muslim
AMARAH, hosted its annual community
meal for the disadvantaged and homeless
at St Andrew's Anglican Church on Friday
Three years ago, a small
group of AMARAH volunteers hosted their
first “iftar”/community meal for the
homeless, mentally ill, and those living
in desperate situations, financially and
The experience had such a
profound impact on the volunteers that
it has become a much anticipated annual
Last Friday nught the AMARAH team,
including a large group of over 30 eager
volunteers (with quite a number of new
faces), once again hosted and served the
community meal at St Andrew’s Anglican
Church to over 70 of the less fortunate
members in our community.
It was an enjoyable night for all- those
who came hungry and tired left with full
bellies and smiles. Indeed, quite a
number of people told the AMARAH
volunteers that the meal served that
night was one of the best meals they
have had in a long time. Thanks to the
generosity of a number of donors, there
was a bit of food left over, allowing
some to take it back with them to share
with others who could not make it to the
Church that night.
Volunteers were also encouraged to sit
down and share a meal with those in
attendance; this is an important part of
the community meal where conversations
are exchanged, stories shared and new
connections are formed. Even children of
the volunteers made new friends
For the AMARAH team and their
volunteers, it was a once again a very
humbling experience- those who
participated were thankful for the
opportunity to make a little bit of
difference to some people’s lives. This
simple act of sharing a meal and
exchanging stories with those less
fortunate in our community truly
exemplified the compassionate spirit of
this blessed month.
AMARAH would like to thank the generous
donors, the cooks, the serving and
cleaning team for making this night
happen. And a big thanks to *Dave
Andrews and his friends at St Andrew’s
Anglican Church for allowing us the
space and opportunity to host this
dinner once again.
AMARAH is hoping to make this a regular
event. For notification of the event,
join us on facebook (AMARAH) or send an
*Dave Andrews is a close friend of
AMARAH and is a devout Christian. Dave
normally fasts every Ramadhan in
solidarity with his Muslim friends.
Creative Artist of The Year
Researcher/Academic of The Year
Volunteer of The
Community Organisation of The Year
Best New Community Initiative / Project of The
The Abyssinian Award - awarded to an Australian
Non-Muslim who has made both a significant and
positive contribution towards the Australian
Volunteers are urgently required to make Baby
Quilts, Baby Sheets, Cover Alls, Rugs, .....
Knit Toys, Baby Socks, Scarves, Beanies, etc.
all for "The Royal Children's Hospital", "The
Women's Hospital Premature Ward" and "The
Children's Cancer Ward".
Material and wool will be available to make up
Simply collect the material/wool ..... make up
the items and return them back.
It is then given to the respective hospitals
For more information contact MARJORIE BOWERS
on 3267 5995
Iftar is one of the religious
observances of Ramadan and is often done as a
community, with people gathering to break their
Australian International Islamic
College held its annual Iftar Dinner on Friday,
12 August 2011 in the new Multi-Purpose Hall at
the Durack Campus. Tables and chairs were laid
out to cater for about 600 people. A short
program was held with a welcome by the college
principal, Dr Ray Barrett, followed by Quranic
Recitations, Talks and the Dua by the College
A variety of savouries and fruit
was laid out for Iftar. Dinner was served after
Maghrib Salah. With the reading of Taraweeh
Prayers on everyone's mind, the meals were served
timeously with the help of teachers and
volunteers. The event was well attended by
parents, students, teachers and members of the
The atmosphere of togetherness,
sharing and generosity was clearly evident.
Thank you to each and every person who was
responsible for such a successful evening. May
Allah (SWT) reward you all for your efforts.
who happen to be Muslim have no respect for Islam
Fed up: Randa Abdel-Fattah is a lawyer,
author and human rights activist.
Source: The Daily Telegraph
THE recent case of the Muslim men
accused of lashing another Muslim in his home is
still to be decided by the courts but early
reports suggest that Islam was once again
hijacked and used as justification for criminal
As lawyers and as Muslims, we find it
reprehensible when Islamic jurisprudence is
appropriated by backyard thugs whose actions
show an utter contempt and arrogant disdain for
the ethical, moral and reasonable principles
that underlie Islamic theology.
The majority of Muslims are fed up with a
minority who are content to manufacture ugly
interpretations of Islam, which are far removed
from the compassionate and just jurisprudential
legacy we have inherited.
Unfortunately, we live in a
society where very few people make a distinction
between the teachings of a faith and the myriad
interpretations and distortions such teachings
We are also fed up with the media highlighting
every criminal or stupid act by somebody who
happens to be Muslim.
There are more than 300,000
Muslims in Australia and while the vast majority
are law-abiding, they stand accused alongside
every Muslim who has a run-in with the law.
The media attention is
disproportionate, leaving the grossly unfair
impression that the majority of Muslims are on
the wrong side of the law.
Mariam Veiszadeh is a lawyer and Muslim
The Muslim community is as
diverse and eclectic as any community which
broadly falls under a religious category and
individual actions should not be extrapolated to
a judgment about an entire faith community.
For every outrageous false claim made by a
Muslim in the name of Islam, whether to justify
misogyny, brutality or ideological divisions,
there are countless Muslims - lay people,
scholars, academics, community workers,
activists, professionals, students - countering
We are not here to defend badly behaved Muslims.
To such Muslims we say you should be held to
account if necessary.
As Muslim women, as lawyers, as Australians, we
have this message: there is no fundamental or
intrinsic incompatibility between Islam and
We also say this: fears about the criminal code
of sharia having a place in Australia are
generated by sensationalist scaremongering.
The criminal code is barely
implemented in Muslim majority countries so any
such debate is a moot point.
That some might seek to justify
their behaviour on the basis of sharia does not
mean their actions are a true reflection of
sharia law or that sharia law is coming to
To be a good Muslim and a good
Australian are one and the same thing.
A life devoted to Islam's ethical
and moral principles means a person will strive
to have integrity, be law-abiding and embrace
Let us name criminal behaviour for what it is
and not grace it with any religious labels.
Randa Abdel-Fattah and Mariam Veiszadeh are
both lawyers working in Sydney and devout
Ms Faiza El-Higzi, manager of the
Romero Centre is seeking Expressions of Interest
from members of the community who want to
volunteer their time to assist in accompanying
families and groups from immigration detention
on excursions and outings.
In a move to improve the welfare of people in
immigration detention, the Department of
Immigration and Citizenship, has agreed to run a
3 month pilot program with the Romero Centre
called the Directed Persons Program (DPP). The
program will aim to engage volunteers to take
people who are currently in the Brisbane
Immigration Transit Accommodation (BITA)
detention centre in Pinkenbah – Brisbane - on
Excursions are likely to be to libraries,
shopping centres and such places to give the
people an idea about Australian life and for
them to engage in social activities and
The Romero Centre is looking for people who can
make a minimum commitment of one day (morning or
afternoon) per month and maximum of six days
over that same period either over a weekday or a
weekend for a three month period depending on
The following people are being sought:
• communicate cross culturally confidently
• follow direction and procedures accurately
• be reliable with time management
• sign a confidentiality agreement and enact
• submit to a police check
If you have what it takes to be part of this
important pilot that is run in collaboration
with Department of Immigration and Citizenship
fill in the volunteer application form, and
send it either by email or post. Mark your
If you need more information or wish to discuss
call Kerrie Manning on 07 30103 0100
PROPERTY expert Terry Ryder
is known for rubbing people up the wrong way
with his no-holds barred view of the market.
But the report he released late
last week fired off a few shots at some new
targets on the Gold Coast.
In the chapter titled
"misconceptions", Mr Ryder wrote a page bagging
residents in Worongary who opposed construction
of a Muslim mosque. Focusing in on their claim
about how the Islamic Worship Centre would
"slash property prices",
Mr Ryder said he had failed to
find any evidence to back that up.
The figures that exist suggest
the opposite," he said. "Lakemba in Sydney, for
example, has healthy capital growth rates
despite having the massive Ali Bin Abi Taleb
Mosque (pictured) in its midst."
Mr Ryder said agents frequently
used the mosque as a selling point.
Source: Gold Coast Bulletin,
Scientists and Scholars
civilisation stretched from southern Spain as
far as China. From the 7th century onwards,
scholars of many faiths built on the ancient
knowledge of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans,
making breakthroughs that paved the way for the
Muslim scientists and scholars have contributed
immensely to human knowledge especially in the
period between 8th and 14th century CE.
The discoveries made by men and women in Muslim
civilisation have left their mark on the way we
their contributions have been largely ignored,
forgotten or have gone un-acknowledged.
attempts to uncover those men and women who have
had a huge but hidden impact on the modern
world. This is an account of one of the many talented Muslim
scholars in history whose contributions have
left lasting marks in the annals of science,
astronomy, medicine, surgery, engineering and
This week's Muslim scholar, philosopher
and/or thinker is:
Abū al-Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī
rendition of Al Biruni on a 1973 Afghan post
Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī born Kath,
Khwarezm and known as Alberonius in
Latin and Al-Biruni in English, was an
ethnic Iranian-Chorasmian Muslim scholar
and polymath of the 11th century.
He is considered as one of the greatest
scholars of the medieval Islamic era and
was well versed in mathematics,
astronomy, physical and natural
sciences, and also distinguished himself
as a geographer, historian, chronologist
He was a
scientist and physicist, an
anthropologist and comparative
sociologist, an astronomer and chemist,
a critic of alchemy and astrology, an
encyclopedist and historian, a
geographer and traveler, a geodesist and
geologist, a mathematician, a pharmacist
and psychologist, an Islamic philosopher
and theologian, scholar and teacher.
An illustration from al-Biruni's
astronomical works, explains the
different phases of the moon.
He was the
first Muslim scholar to study India and
the Brahminical tradition, and has been
described as the founder of Indology,
the father of geodesy, and "the first
anthropologist".He is also considered as
impartial writer on custom and creeds of
various nations and was given the title
al-Ustdadh ("The Master").
According to Francis Robinson, Al-Biruni
earned the "founder of Indology" and
"first anthropologist" titles for his
remarkable description of early
Most of the
works of Al-Biruni are in Arabic
although he wrote one of his
masterpieces, the Kitab al-Tafhim
apparently in both Persian and Arabic,
showing his mastery over both languages.
A statue of
Biruni adorns the southwest entrance of
Laleh Park in Tehran, Iran
His extant works include
Thecritical study of what
India says, whether accepted by reason
or refused also known as the Indica
- a compendium of India's religion and
philosophy and The Book of Instruction
in the Elements of the Art of Astrology
(Kitab al-tafhim li-awa’il sina‘at al-tanjim).
The crater Al-Biruni on
the Moon is named after him. Tashkent
Technical University (formerly Tashkent
Polytechnic Institute) is also named
after Abu Rayhan al-Biruni and a
university in Kapisa, Afghanistan is
also named after him.
UK: Raw with grief, in
a voice steady but tight with emotion, his
appeal for calm on Wednesday was a beacon of
hope amid the tumult and carnage of a
horribly dark week for Britain.
Faith: Tariq Jahan is embraced by members of
his community after Friday prayers at the
Dudley Road mosque in Birmingham
Hours before he spoke,
Tariq Jahan had lost his 21-year-old son
Haroon, murdered in the Winson Green area of
Birmingham by thugs who drove at him in
their car in what appears to have been a
No one could be more aware of the simmering
racial tensions between Asians in his
neighbourhood and those of Caribbean
Yet Mr Jahan had the dignity, the compassion
and the common sense to demand an end to the
violence that had shattered his life.
‘Blacks, Asians, whites — we all live in the
same community,’ he said. ‘Why do we have to
kill one another? Why are we doing this?
Step forward if you want to lose your sons.
Otherwise, calm down and go home — please.’
There was no mention of feral
rats or of the sickness in our society.
There were no calls for revenge. If he had
screamed for retribution, if he had chosen
the emotional occasion of his son’s death to
denounce whole swathes of the community,
there could easily have been an unspeakable
outbreak of racial violence.
Instead, Mr Jahan made an open and
straightforward declaration of his faith.
‘I’m a Muslim. I believe in divine fate and
destiny, and it was his destiny and his
fate, and now he’s gone,’ he said. ‘And may
Allah forgive him and bless him.’
It was a solemn, peaceful message that will
make everyone who stereotypes Muslims as
terrorists and fanatics feel ashamed of
themselves. Tariq Jahan is a deeply
impressive man, and like the great majority
of Muslims in this country, he is
hard-working, clean-living, guided in his
conduct by religious belief, and unshakeable
in his devotion to the ideal of family life.
Father: Tariq Jahan holds a picture of his
son Haroon as a schoolboy
In London at the height of
the riots, we saw another clear expression
of faith when more than 700 Sikhs lined up
to defend their temples from potential
arsonists in the suburb of Southall to the
west of the capital. The Sikhs have a proud
tradition of valuing each human being, male
and female, as equal in God’s eyes. Theirs
is a religion in which family is paramount.
We do not know the size of the bank balance
of those Sikhs, any more than we know how
wealthy are the Muslims of Winson Green.
From looking at the streets and houses where
they live, and the shops where they buy
their food, it is safe to assume that they
are not rich.
It is probable, too, that their teenagers
would like to have large-screen televisions
and fashionable trainers and BlackBerries.
But you can pretty well guarantee they would
not have been among the looters.
Instilled into them would have been the
importance of working hard for money to buy
these things, rather than hurling a brick
through a shop window to help themselves.
Paramount among their moral values would be
concern for others, a sense of altruism that
could not be more different from the sense
of self-entitlement that been so grotesquely
on display this week. The reason for this is
that they are from religious families.
All the main religions are unshakeable when
it comes to self-evident truths about right
and wrong; about stealing, harming others,
coveting goods, instant gratification and so
‘Two things fill the mind with ever new and
increasing wonder and awe, the more often
and the more seriously reflection
concentrates upon them: the starry heaven
above me and the moral law within me’.
So wrote the greatest philosopher of the
18th-century, Immanuel Kant, in 1788 in his
work of moral philosophy, the Critique of
It was in 1991 — and the memory is still
vivid — that I interviewed Immanuel
Jakobovits on his retirement as Chief Rabbi
in Britain, and he told me that it was on
the basis of Kant’s quotation that his
father had named him Immanuel.
During that interview, Rabbi Jakobovits —
who died in Israel in 1999 and was said to
have been Margaret Thatcher’s favourite
clergyman — stressed the absolute centrality
of family life to our learning the paths of
His parting message as he retired, not only
to the Jewish community but also to the
British people, was that marriage and family
life need to be learned; that if necessary
we should have classes for young people,
teaching them the importance of family life,
of how to bring up children, how to
discipline them kindly but firmly, and how
to instil the sense of that moral law
Without that sense, human life falls into
absolute chaos, anarchy, and unpleasantness.
Yet in our secular age — an age in which,
tragically, the Church of England appears to
do little more than wring its hands as
congregation numbers plummet — this moral
bedrock is being steadily eroded.
Today, we live in a society where religion
is something for which apologies must be
A Christian woman working for British
Airways who wears a cross round her neck is
asked to remove it for fear of offending
other people. A nurse who prays with a
patient in hospital is committing an almost
criminal act. Catholic adoption agencies
which disapprove of gay adoptive parents on
religious grounds have their licences taken
And all the while, our governing classes and
academics and teachers chip away at the
fundamental truths of the great religions —
truths that have stood the test of time for
thousands of years — in their arrogant
certainty that there are no moral absolutes
and that the human race can make up the
rules as it goes along.
At the nuttier fringes of the chattering
classes there are those, like the geneticist
Richard Dawkins and the journalist
Christopher Hitchens, who actually believe
that religion is a mental poison responsible
for all the evils in the world.
The misguided and vacuous thinking of these
so-called intellectuals is compounded by a
sordid celebrity-culture which holds up role
models who should be despised rather than
Amy Winehouse, a pathetic drug-infused
alcoholic girl of very modest talent, is
held up as great diva; and when she died,
her house was surrounded by fans, laying
empty vodka bottles as a ‘tribute’.
Jade Goody, the foul-mouthed, racist
daughter of a pimp and drug-pusher who died
of a heroin overdose in the lavatory of a
Kentucky Fried Chicken, appears on Big
Brother and becomes a heroine despite — or
because of — her ignorance and tendency to
strip off in front of the cameras.
Fornicating footballers, who swagger through
public lives dripping with gold and
jewellery, parading the vulgar acquisitions
of their vast wealth — whether it is fleets
of fast cars or call girls, are venerated by
generations who have never so much as heard
of the very real heroes of history.
In the absence of a moral law, we see a
decline in standards in all walks of life.
Bankers continue to fill their boots even
after they have brought the country to the
brink of bankruptcy; politicians fiddle
expenses and see no reason to resign when
they have committed wrongdoings; town hall
fat cats pay themselves ever greater
salaries as Britain slips further into debt.
By contrast, every day, Muslim men like
Tariq Jahan go to the mosque and fall
prostrate before the mystery which Immanuel
Kant knew lay at the heart of existence.
The Sikhs likewise build temples because
they feel awe at the starry heavens above
them and the moral laws within their hearts
— laws which all men, women and children can
recognise when they reflect deeply and in
The catalogue of the great men and women in
the past hundred or so years — from Leo
Tolstoy in Russia, to Mahatma Gandhi in
India, from the Lutheran student Sophie
Scholl executed by guillotine aged 22 for
her part in a resistance movement to Hitler,
to Archbishop Tutu presiding over the
peaceful Truth and Reconciliation committees
in South Africa — has been the same.
All these people have held fast to values
which they believed ultimately to be eternal
Go back 100 years to Winson Green, to
Southall, and to Wolverhampton, and to all
the other scenes of urban violence scarred
by horror in the last week.
Soldiers Friends: From left, Haroon Jahan,
Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir who died they
were mowed down by a car while protecting
their community from looters
The years before and after
World War I were marked, for the people who
lived in these places, by very great
The poverty endured by the inhabitants of
Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham and the
poor parts of London led to great programmes
of political and social reform.
But the crime rate among the people
themselves was much, much lower than it is
today. All sorts of reasons have been
adduced for this. But there is surely a very
simple one that towers over all the others.
In each of these places, there were chapels,
often Methodist, which kept alive the human
capacity for awe at the starry heavens above
and the moral law within.
Not everyone attended the services, though
thousands did. Nearly everyone, however, in
these communities, whether church or chapel,
subscribed to the idea that Good and Evil
are given things, not human inventions.
The Jewish religion of Lord Jakobovits told
the story of the Law of God being written in
stone on the mountain-side of Sinai, and
delivered to Moses. Some people choose to
believe this happened literally as an
In a memorable episode of Radio 4’s The
Moral Maze, over 20 years ago, historian
David Starkey (an atheist) ribbed Rabbi Hugo
Gryn about this.
The Rabbi took the teasing in good part of
course, but as someone who as a child had
been interned in Auschwitz, he knew what a
society could be like if it embraced the
motto of Milton’s Satan, ‘Evil be thou my
He knew that whatever the historical truth
about the Sinai story in the Book of Exodus,
there was an absolute truth in the words
Thou Shalt Do No Murder, Thou Shall Not
Steal, and Honour thy Father and thy Mother.
He’d lived in a country ruled over by a
satanic Nazi dictator who thought you could
disregard moral truth.
I suspect that when time passes and we look
back on this week, it is the religious
sincerity of Tariq Jahan that we shall
remember. All of us — Muslims, Sikhs, Jews,
Hindus, Christians — have a rich religious
At the core of this inheritance is a sense
of right and wrong. And in all these
religions, the school where we learn of
right and wrong is the family. Muslims,
Jews, Sikhs and Hindus have all, very
noticeably, retained this twin strand of
family structure and ethical teaching.
Faith in Christianity itself began to
unravel long ago, and the majority of those
whose forebears were Christian are now
completely secular. They would not even
recognise simple Bible stories.
The events of the past week have shown the
enormous value of a living religious faith.
Not only was Tariq Jahan more impressive
than any of the commentators or politicians
who spouted on the airwaves this week. He
was more human.
By his religious response to his son’s
death, he humanised not only the dreadful
and immediate tragedy. He showed us that
without a religion we are all less than
A reader's response to the
"This article has just moved me to tears. I
will never tarnish all Muslims with the same
brush again. I feel so ashamed that I have
done so in the past. God Bless all those
decent, God fearing folk. I am humbled."
- LF, London, 13/8/2011 10:30
Dear CCN Readers
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Organizations wishing to use this service should
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