Every time something cruel happens, the reflex is go into the rattle bag of clichés of condemnation. What that does is prevent serious thought about the politics and ideology behind the decision to fly a plane into the World Trade Centre, murder Daniel Pearl in Pakistan because he was Jewish, and now butcher James Foley because he was American.
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.
There has to be a balanced approach by world leaders and humans in general to the death of civilians irrelevant of race, ethnicity, nationality or religion. President Obama's selective wording in which crimes a 'Just God' would stand by and stand against is as farcical as his statements on global peace and stability.
Sarwar and Ahmed, both of whom pleaded guilty to terrorism offences last month, purchased Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies. You could not ask for better evidence to bolster the argument that the 1,400-year-old Islamic faith has little to do with the modern jihadist movement.
The law has until now been very clear in this area and the courts have for the most part been successful in striking a fair balance. Attempts to tip the balance in favour of Christians, or any other religious group, must be resisted.
When we look at the news and we see incident after incident of discrimination, antisemitism and vigilante justice. Whether that's Jewish shops being targeted in Paris or a woman being assaulted for displaying an Israeli flag in Amsterdam, we are surrounded by acts of baseless hatred.
Since 9/11 and the subsequent terrorist attacks which have taken place in the West, Muslims have been entrapped in a vicious circus show called "Not in my name". This circus show entails guilt by association of faith, and the never-ending apologies and condemnations that Muslims are forced to make for crimes allegedly committed in the name of Islam.
I am gay and I am Christian, and to most people, that's okay... But the problem I've faced is telling Christians. In theory this should be fine: you go on classic theology and teaching to "love your neighbour as yourself", feed the hungry, care for those in need. The list goes on. In reality there have been times where the teachings I've heard have felt like a condemnation.
Why has the US not committed to airstrikes on Boko Haram like they have on the Islamic State? Surely the value of the hundreds of thousands of Christians in harm's way at the hands of Boko Haram, are just as important as the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians?
The first time I met Richard Rohr, I disgraced myself. It was at the wonderful Greenbelt festival, where Father Richard was a speaker.
I am a skeptic. Some years ago, my mother 'blamed' this on my education in science. And it's true, over the years of analysing molecules and ideas I have become extraordinarily critical. I challenge most things I read in the news; doctors' diagnoses and marketing campaigns
Indeed, so magnanimous have some seen this spiritual Love to be, that an early follower of Jesus once said (emphasis added): "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
Being spiritual is easy if you spend your life meditating on a mountain top with intermittent breaks for yoga and energy treatments (I actually know people who pretty much live like this) but for most of us attempting to live a spiritual life of sorts we simply don't have the pleasure or privilege of living in this way.
The inconvenient truth is that the collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza is a collective endeavour in its own right - led by Israel, enforced by Egypt, endorsed by Saudi Arabia. Pity the poor Palestinians. Their territories are occupied by the Jewish state; their cause is abandoned by the Arab world.
In Iraq, right now, an ancient culture is being exterminated, wiped from the face of human history. The Yazidi minority had, until recently, found relative safe haven in Kurdish-controlled areas... However, recent reversals have forced both the Iraqi and Kurdish governments to withdraw their forces from the region, as ISIS continued its murderous advance across the north and west of the country.
1000 humanists from over 60 countries are assembling in Oxford today for the 2014 World Humanist Congress. This triennial gathering of members of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) unites men and women from across the globe who believe that we can live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity alone, without religious beliefs.