I normally have two subjects that I try to avoid writing about... work and religion, but after quite a bit of deliberation following events from the past few days, I’m going to break my own rules this once.
The work aspect of the blog came just over a week ago when members of the local Muslim community attended a blood donor session in Middlesbrough. It would not be right to mention anyone by name, but on the day and in the meetings that led up to the event, I will admit to being welcomed (if that’s the right word) by people of a religion and culture to which I’ve rarely been exposed, but with whom I would gladly sit down and discuss at length the deity and doctrines that guide them. It won’t change my own personal beliefs,
but I don’t see anything wrong with trying to understand more about the diverse nature of the country in which we now live.
I can appreciate the difficulty of trying to challenge stereotypes and change the popular (as in “of the people”) perception of the general Muslim community. I’m not going to get drawn into any sort of analysis because I would be out of my depth, but I believe those I have met and started to get to know are representative of the overwhelming majority of Muslims across the country, genuine, good people striving to make a positive difference to the communities in which they live.
On Wednesday, Drummer Lee Rigby was brutally murdered, an indescribable act carried out in the name of religion but for which there can be no justification. The simple unavoidable fact is that a child has been robbed of his father in devastating and needless circumstances.
The media coverage was understandably extensive but arguably did exactly what the perpetrators hoped and allowed their fanatical ramblings to get totally unwarranted airtime and, in some quarters, incited words of racial, religious and cultural hatred that could potential escalate into yet more pointless violence, but distracts completely from what matters the most – the shattering effect on a family trying to come to terms with the inhumane slaughter of a loved one.
I just don’t accept that any religion can be offered as a valid excuse for the disgusting crime that took place earlier this week. You can claim allegiance to any God you like, but bad things are done by inherently bad people and the two men deserve nothing more than to be locked up... and forgotten.
Tragically, for the friends and family of Lee Rigby, forgetting is something they will probably never be able to do and this blog is respectfully dedicated to Lee’s memory. Rest in Peace young man.
All my own work... almost.