I've had to forgo my regular early morning glass of sherry as I'm going to another very important inter-faith conference. We important people of faith will discuss how very similar we are to each other, how much we have in common, and how we can bring different faiths together in peace and harmony. Why they're not already living together in peace and harmony is a bit of a mystery. I pondered this while I was co-chair of the Interfaith Network (along with my fellow co-chair, Dr G L Bhan, and the four vice-chairs: Dr Manazir Ahsan MBE, Hon Barnabas Leith, Dr Indarjit Singh CBE and Mr Vivian Wineman - currently gongless). How is it, that with so much in common with one another, people of different faiths are so distrustful and suspicious of one another? I mean, it's not as if we separate them as children, teach them that all other faiths are wrong and their followers aren't as good as we are and that they must never have anything to do with other faiths, is it?
Why? Why, we will all be asking today as we enjoy the excellent buffet lunch normally provided at our regular interfaith meetings. Why did four young men, born and bred in this country, choose to indiscriminately blow up themselves and fellow passengers on the London Underground, even after so many interfaith meetings? It's a mystery that, to this day, remains unanswered. What could possibly have motivated them? Suffering racial prejudice? An identity crisis between their ancestral home in Pakistan and their adopted homeland in the UK? Why?
We know it can't be because of the Religion of Peace. Islam, which means "peace" by the way, is renowned for its relaxed and easy going attitude to just about everything. Muslims worldwide are always laughing off criticism or mockery of their religion, with a happy-go-lucky, live and let live, joke and a smile. So what could possibly have motivated them? Their suicidal fanaticism, so totally uncharacteristic of the Religion of Peace, is reminiscent of someone convinced that there's an afterlife and they'll be guaranteed endless virgins, unlimited sherry and as many cuddly toys as they can throw.
Perhaps someone at the inter-faith conference will be able to figure it out?