My experience of Scouting is ten years that left me with fond memories of having been a Cub, a Scout and then a Venture Scout who weekly 'promised to love God' but admittedly without anyone explaining to me what that actually meant.
As the representative of one of the oldest European minority faiths on this continent, I want to reach out to the diverse Christian communities, the diverse Muslim communities, secular groups, governments and politicians, to help us stop this growing trend of antagonism and conflict. I believe that we have the responsibility to recreate an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual respect between the secular modern state and religious movements, in order to make sure that the experiment, which we call Europe, is not going to fail.
Perhaps the poor do have more to gain from faith then the middle classes, and religion for all its good and bad will not give way to secularism in Africa.
In this critical time when some nihilistic criminals misuse the nobility of Islamic faith, it is high time to bring back the spirit of Islamic enlightenment enshrined in those early years of Islam's history.
Theresa May said the UK has to "wipe out anti-Semitism". The BBC has now featured an article about Jews in the UK fearing for their safety, but unfortunately this doesn't surprise me at all. This new interest in British anti-Semitism stems largely from the attacks in France, and it's a shame that it took such a tragic event for Brits to begin to consider the problems here at home.
Feminism has risen to the forefront of many people's minds this year, in no small part thanks to Emma Watson's inspiring UN speech. But one of my favourite things to appear recently is Caitlin Stasey's new website, herself.com.
As such my only New Year's resolution is try to be nicer to people; a task that if undertaken by everyone all at once, might make this tumultuous lump of rock hurtling around an infinite, pointless expanse of space that we call home somewhat more bearable.
Terrorists carry out their heinous acts to gain publicity for their cause but what is far more sinister is their motive to create division and conflict in the country and it is this that we need to be aware of and not let them succeed...
Every person's life has an intrinsic value regardless of circumstance. Whatever they themselves or other people may think of their 'value' to society, and despite any apparent lack of productivity or usefulness, nothing can alter their essential significance as human beings. To agree that some of us are more valuable than others when it comes to being alive would be to cross an ethical Rubicon.
The statistical reality is that Britain remains one of the least antisemitic countries in the world... Indeed, Jewish life in Britain is thriving. British Jews have benefited enormously from multiculturalism, and compared to a generation ago, Britain has become a fabulous place to live a meaningful Jewish life. But perhaps that is what helps to fuel the anxiety.
Charlie Hebdo was categorically correct to publish the prophet on its front cover. To ask cartoonists not to draw Mohammed would be like cartoonists to ask Muslims to give up their prophet...
When Israelis look at these events in Europe, their view is inevitably coloured by the history of Jews there, and the fact that the idea of a modern Jewish state was created in Europe as an answer to anti-semitism.
The presumption of liability here implies that should a Muslim commit a crime, 1.6 billion other Muslims think it is okay unless they explicitly say otherwise. That is a bigoted and repulsive double standard to hold a whole host of peaceful people up to.
There have been countless acts of terrorisms around the world but we do not hear the mainstream media or anyone else ask normal Jews, Christians, Hindus or any other religion to take accountability for these acts and quite rightly so.
I don't doubt many people would have found the Charlie Hebdo cartoons extremely offensive, and I'm not here to tell you that's wrong, but the insinuation that insulting/offending people may have invited this horrific tragedy on any level is tantamount in my eyes to the old age adage that a rape victim "asked for it" by wearing a short skirt. It's victim blaming at its very worst, and especially against people who fought in many ways for the rights of those who attacked them. So long as offence remains within the bounds of what is legally acceptable, then it is just that - acceptable - whether you personally like it or not.
Let's be clear: I agree there is no justification whatsoever for gunning down journalists or cartoonists. I disagree with your seeming view that the right to offend comes with no corresponding responsibility; and I do not believe that a right to offend automatically translates into a duty to offend.