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.
I've always really liked Moses (peace be upon him) referred to as Musa in Arabic. The man, the prophet, the one referred to on so many occasions in the Quran, the Muslim holy scripture. Complex, dynamic, fierce, stubborn and humble, all at the same time. A prophet sent with a message and a man referred to more times in the Quran than any other.
The ideological response to ISIS must be cast from outside the realm of religious authority altogether. You see, Islam in particular, and holy text religions in general, are open to interpretation and selectivity. By responding to ISIS from within its own paradigm, one only validates its basic premise...
Modernity equates to a secular view of the world. Religion will slowly wither away. Globalisation is a new force in the world, spreading modernity, finally spelling religion's death-knoll. Well, no. A popular view but popular views are sometimes wrong. The obituary of God has been written many times.
The government is right to take a firm stand against ISIS and those who fight in its ranks or support from the sidelines. But we need to face facts: we cannot stop British jihadis returning home; we cannot arrest our way out of the problem; and we do not have the resources to mount surveillance operations against all returning foreign fighters.
I wasn't quite sure how I should respond to the death of Professor Ghulam Azam, the name I remember from nearly two years when it was suggested to me that the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh was set up to destroy the prominent figure...
Religion is actually a very beautiful philosophy. It is sad that these days, the world is so polarised, over-sensitised, fearful, filled with irrational hatred and cowed by political correctness when it comes to religion. I had to think twice before writing this, so conditioned am I into thinking that the r-word is a tinderbox that could incite a large, destructive flame.
The fact of the matter is that Muslims have always spoken out against groups like ISIS. Yet it is worth noting that after these extremist groups act, Muslims across the globe (and in particular the Western world) are left stranded in the centre of an imperial dichotomy which labels them according to "fundamental" and "moderate" Muslims.
Estimates of the spread of the Ebola epidemic change daily but the death toll is already in the thousands and there are warnings that we may be seeing 10,000 people die a week in the near future...
An unfortunate but perhaps inevitable consequence of the growing numbers of young British men travelling to Syria or Iraq to join ISIS is that the communities from which they hail will at best be scrutinised for answers, and at worst be blamed for playing a part in their radicalisation.
I perceived that my ability to be where I needed to be, and do what I needed to do, was based on spiritual rather than material factors. And for me the key factor was understanding where my energy and alertness actually came from.
Pope Francis is a man on a mission. Everything from the choice of his name (referencing St Francis of Assisi) to his shunning of material comforts suggest he is out to take the church back to its core values of tolerance, inclusion and compassion.
When Grace Gelder's self-marriage hit the headlines last week, it started a conversation about what it means to celebrate single life with a ceremony. I was the one who led Grace's ceremony that spring day. I'm what is known as a "celebrant" - someone who helps people create meaningful ceremonies that celebrate life.
It was an emotional Maryam Namazie, an Iranian Marxist in exile, who stepped onto the stage to read out a message in support of Syrian Kurds: "We are all Kobanians".
It is about time that the Saudi government takes a stronger stand towards externalizing the inner spirituality of the Hajj by making it a journey of environmental care, contemplation and benefit.