I worked alongside Maz for 13 years when I was political editor of the News of the World and found him a tough, resourceful and committed reporter. Like a well-trained hunting dog, he was always straining at the leash and desperate to get stuck in to the next big story.
As a teacher of Religious Studies, I feel that teaching comparative religion is important; especially if we are to educate 'global citizens' that understand the religious diversity of the rest of the world, but I would prefer an option to allow schools to include a more secular element to the teaching of moral values.
By collectively working to make the world a better place and by rooting it in religious doctrine, we bring our values to the wider world, acknowledging the co-dependence of faith and action. Ultimately the reward for doing the 'mitzvah' is the good deed itself.
It is now that these two communities must understand how interdependent they are. When one community is attacked, the other is next in line. The hatred of Muslims in Europe is the same hatred that Jews have experienced for the last few centuries. When Jews perpetrate islamaphobic actions, they are creating an atmosphere in which anti-Semitism thrives and vice versa.
A large proportion of the homophobia that exists in society continues to stem from religious belief. Within this, the active condemnation of homosexuality is often justified as an expression of faith; a religious right where an individual is free to preach - what they perceive to be - the word of God.
Given that transparency is the one thing most people want from financial institutions in the post recession era, a book whose title evokes secrecy may be somewhat of a repellent. And yet Harris Irfan's work is perhaps the most accessible insight into a maligned and mysterious industry.
While welcoming an opportunity to engage in those issues it is also important to challenge the implication that positive change is something which struggles to come out of religions. Traditional they may be, but mainstream religion has, and continues to have, an enormous positive impact on UK society and a great capacity to create positive change.
At this time of reflection, as well as remembering those who have served and died for us, I hope we can find a moment to appreciate the values we share, and be thankful of their role in shaping our Armed Forces and what they fight to defend today.
Last week, Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi, a Christian couple who had spent years in modern-day slavery in Punjab province in Pakistan, were brutally beaten and burned to death at the brick kiln where they work after they were accused of blasphemy for desecrating the Holy Qur'an.
Being a Christian doesn't dictate my political position in the way that you might stereotypically think. I don't believe in a theocracy! I am a liberal in my politics so naturally I'll vote differently from my colleagues in other parties. But it does shape what I get passionate about - housing for those in need, compassion and dignity for those claiming asylum, tackling poverty. What is more, realising that you are part of a religious (and political!) minority tends to heighten my liberal instincts to protect freedom of speech and association, and to defend those on the margins whose worth is undermined, ignored or misunderstood in a rush to appeal to the majority.
Whatever warped religion these terrorists are practising, it has little to do with the true teachings of Islam. But what can you expect from those whose only knowledge of the faith comes from 'Islam for Dummies'?
Our work has supported over 2,000 people nationally since mid-2012 and has also filled a much needed gap for victims of anti-Muslim bigotry. The last three years have been an exhilarating and gruelling set of experiences, where the personal safety of my colleagues and I have been affected.
Half the foreign jihadists in Syria and Iraq come from Islamic cultures: Tunisia, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. The governments that they reject face a big problem. But the lure of the so-called Caliphate in Syria and Iraq for some young people in Europe is rightly considered a security problem for us...
In what sense could God have been glorified as a result of the First World War? Was he on the side of the British and her allies? Is that why we won, and is that what glorified him? Didn't the Germans pray to the same God?
My religion teaches tolerance, charitable giving, enterprise, hard work. These are all part and parcel of the way I live my life, and percolate deep into my politics. That's why I became active in my local community - first as a local councillor, then later when I was privileged to becoming the MP for where I grew up.
Beneath the surface picture of a gently declining religious life in Britain, there is actually a swirling hubbub of spiritual activity. Religious Britain is like a river that appears to be flowing at a leisurely pace, but in which there is a series of fast undercurrents that suck others in and vie for mastery.