Saturday, 18 July 2015

The World is Crying for Justice...

Is it just me that sees a world where those that are undergoing the most difficulty are being seen virtually as an economic detail?

There used to be concern purely about the "Third World" and how those poor aboriginals needed help to generate their own economies and be supported through their growing pains. The reality, however, has been that the West has succeeded in supporting mostly non-viable governments and, in any case, it's China that has taken over as the main source of aid in mid-Africa.

While the West was trying to be seen as 'the good guys', it was also quietly supporting the Shah of Iran and then Saddam Hussein - and we have seen what has since developed in both countries. That the West has been such a friend of Israel has further provided confusion and antipathy in the Middle East countries.

Western policy has to a large extent been the cause of the rise of the Islamist in my view. It's all very well to brand them as "evil", but we should firstly put right our own back garden in my opinion. Though the atrocities that are present in the Lavant are a horrible fact that has no duplication in the West, there is every indication that we ordinary people are becoming more and more controlled by our governments. And that includes interception of e-mails and phone calls - and, now, even interception via TV!

The way that Greece is being treated is understandable if one was to view Greece as some kind of business (although a business would not be given so many chances and would have been wound-up by now) - but the fact is that a country is composed of living beings. Already a fair number have chosen suicide as the way out of their difficulties: how many more will follow the same route following imposition of the latest strictures and near-impossible targets? The people of Greece need humanitarian assistance more than anything in my view, in addition to the provision of an international steering committee to put the country onto a viable footing.

Meanwhile, in England and Wales, those families earning under £25,000 have been told that they may lose up to £800 per year as a result of cuts in their tax credits. And this after a study has found that 1 out of 3 parents under that income level bypass a meal so that their children may eat.

A "record number" of people received aid from UK food banks in the last year. The Trussell Trust said three days' food was given out 1,084,604 times in the 2014-15 financial year.

I do not agree that Tax Credits are a viable solution to 'the problem', but surely you do not deprive the poorest of their income before you sort out an alternative plan?

In the USA, they intern 25% of the world's total prison population. The USA's general population is only 5% of the world's total. Something is wrong there.

One World, One Nation policies? If anything we are fast moving away from such notions; apart from the wealthy it would seem that the rest of humanity is to be trampled on. Why? Simply because they're viewed as not being ambitious enough to get more than their neighbour. Or they might be disabled. For those reasons you are forced to live on less.

A People's Revolution would only create more catastrophe, as history has shown us. The only real answer is Faith in the One God and his various messages and to truly Love Thy God and also Love Thy Neighbour as Thyself.

"Blessed are the peacemakers" (Matthew 5:9).

And note:

In Islam, the Arabic word "jihad" actually means a struggle or striving, and applies to any great effort on the personal as well as the social level.  It is striving to do good and remove injustice and evil from oneself and from society.  This exertion of effort can be spiritual, social, economic or political.  For example, one of the highest levels of jihad is to stand before a tyrant and speak a word of truth.  Restraining the self from wrongdoing is also a form of jihad.  It is a broad Islamic concept that includes opposing evil inclinations within the self, opposing injustice by peaceful means, the exertion of effort to improve the quality of life in society, as well as the striving by military forces on a battlefield in defense of the community or of peoples oppressed.  Jihad is not synonymous with war, as that is only one possible aspect of the term, and it certainly does not include terrorism.

Peace be with you.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Narratives will not stop terrorism

Howard Jacobson's Saturday article in the i newspaper "Narratives will not stop terrorism" receives an A1 rating from me.

I am not short of knowledge about Islam and Muslims and I love their religion and what their prophet stood for - as did Thomas Carlyle and George Bernard Shaw - and I believe there has grown an enormous resentment amongst many in the larger Muslim community about Western policy in the Middle East this last near-100 years.

Therefore, Howard Jacobson is so right in asserting that we in Britain and the larger Western world need to offer more than platitudes as an alternative to the perverse Daesh (aka ISIS or ISIL) line. What we should offer is a genuine and heartfelt sense of being brothers with Muslims in their aspiration to be recognised for what they truly stand for, and not expect them to 'fit in' to our secular ways, some of which are of dubious value. Least valued of all must be this country's lurch back towards feeding the rich rather than the poor and re-preaching 'an eye for an eye' philosophy. As Ghandi said, that view can lead one to becoming blind!

Have we yet managed to reach the level of Islamic civilisation in Spain, for example? I believe Islam has taught us much - we owe Islam much for its legacy in the sciences, arts and civilisation in general and we even use 'Arabic numerals'.

Without meaning to revive Inter-Faith Groups, perhaps we should look closer into the sincere Muslim's philosophy to find what is common in our ideals in order to draw from the best of both worlds, and even to transcend them. And in that discussion to include Hindus, Sikhs, Jews and others too. There is more we all have in common than meets the eye when it comes down to our ideals. Our internal and foreign politics should eventually benefit from this approach.

Merely showing willingness to earnestly discuss how we go forward based on real values will surely bring us all (all faiths and cultures) closer together and eventually eliminate extremism, especially that of Daesh.