Police have said there is an “obvious link” between the Munich shooter and extreme right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik; the man behind the 2011 Norway massacre at a children's camp, who wrote a political manifesto and in court gave a nazi salute. Breivik was even this Munich guys whatsapp profile picture. However, what is interesting is that I have seen repeatedly in the papers and on the tv news (and by the same police who have just said there’s an "obvious link" to Breivik) that this is NOT terrorism but a “classic killing spree”. The long and short of it is this; it is ridiculous to rule out terrorism whilst at the same time saying there are “obvious links” to a terrorist. This narrative that terrorism only belonging to Muslims and the disparity between how perpetrators of these attacks are treated is never so obvious than at times like this, when the media, politicians and police have decided they don’t want to apply the usual rules to a case...Read More
Today, I was fasting. And as is usual during this holy month, my focus is more on prayer and reflection than on my newsfeed and my mobile. I woke up and I spent a little time reading the Quran. A verse I read stuck in my head throughout the morning. It was about the Quran itself, and how some people read it. It says “the perverse at heart eagerly pursue the ambiguities in their attempt to make trouble and to pin down specific meaning of their own.” It made me think of ISIS.
Then I spent a few lovely hours talking about Islam with my brother-in-law, who as a recent Muslim is fasting only his second Ramadan. We talked about the fasting of the body and the fasting of the mind. I am watching a wonderful series of lecture about mindfulness and being in the present, and how ending negative suffering through these means are very much rooted in Islamic thought. We talked about spirituality, and the wonderful universal messages that Islam has to give to the world.
Then I prayed.
Five times a day we call out to “The Lord of mercy, the Giver of mercy.” These are the words we use to describe God in our prayers. We ask him to “guide us to the straight path, the path of those who You have blessed, those who incur no anger, and who have not gone astray.” It is a beautiful and peaceful prayer.
I read some more Quran, and it gave me a sense of peace.
Then I turned on the news.Read More
Another deadly attack, this time in Brussels. By the time you read this, the death toll of 23 may well have changed.
When these attacks happen (especially in Europe) I always have the same instant reaction of mixed emotions.
Many people (on both sides) will be on the defensive; some will be angry that you try to make sense of “why” as if this is making excuses for the inexcusable. Others, angry at the clear double standard between the loss of European life compared to say Arab, will try to “even the playing field” with a “so-what” approach; downplay or dismiss what has happened. Both positions are wrong
So here are some of the initial reactions I have had this morning;Read More