The millions of Holocaust victims will be remembered on Tuesday as part of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Rather than turning this occasion into yet another gory battlefield of ideologies, the historical anguish should prompt us to work against the systems of collective hatred - beyond religious, ethnic and racial boundaries.
I 100% agree with the lambasting and jokes surrounding these comments - the comments embody a reality so screwed up we have to throw our hands up and laugh to keep from crying. But we can't forget comments like this also fuels that reality, that today's violent race and religious fault-lines are created by comments like these and the damage they do.
On the day I got up as usual, it was still dark, and made breakfast. I prayed the Lord's Prayer - 'give us this day our daily bread!' and asked for strength in fasting as a spiritual exercise. I finished breakfast around 06.30 (discovering later that the fast should began at 05.30, no imam for guidance though I could have researched it better - this was several years ago).
Last week, with little fanfare and under heavy security, an historic meeting took place in Rome which marked a turning point in interfaith relations. Inside the 16th century Casina Pio IV villa, home to the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences, seven clerics representing over five billion people overcame lingering traditions of suspicion to commit to the eradication of modern day slavery by the year 2020.
Reza Pankhurst's latest work doesn't have the poetic endurance of Shakespeare but its central premise is concerned with the dilemma so eloquently posed by the master playwright in Hamlet. The tragedy of the Danish prince that has endured as a fictional masterpiece of English drama has played out in the Muslim conscious for nigh on a hundred years.
This group who claims to be speaking for all Muslims, truly isn't. They don't speak for me. And I have given them no right to represent me, I have given no approval, in the actions of what they're doing. None of what they do, is complacent to the rules of Islam, none of what they do, signifies Islam in any way. In short - THEY. ARE. NOT. MUSLIMS.