Life-time human rights, environment and peace activist
Richard Reoch has devoted his working life to human rights, the environment and peace. Born in Canada in 1948, he came to London to work at the headquarters of Amnesty International, campaigning against torture and becoming its global media chief. He has been a trustee of the Rainforest Foundation founded by Sting, and worked in conflict zones around the world. His blog on the Huffington Post speaks out against the rising hide of hatred in the world, Islamophobia and other forms of racial and social prejudice and violence. For 12 years he was the President of Shambhala, the worldwide community based on the Buddha's teachings on enlightened society. This year, he was asked by Morocco’s leading university to introduce a program on “mindful leadership”.
I have the feeling he would feel a sense of deep pride and gratitude - as well as boundless compassion at this time of shock, horror and loss - if he were to see Manchester being the best that humanity can be.
"Now we are able to buy sheep, breed them and sell them," says Hanane Anassi who leads a women's cooperative in the harsh landscape of Morocco's Atlas mountains. What's changed in this ancient land where millions live in poverty, is that these sheep-raising women have become computer savvy.
As a Buddhist, I have spent the last month - to the surprise of many - visiting the morning and evening prayers at my local mosque during this holy month of Ramadan. In brutal contrast, this morning I woke up to the news that my fellow Buddhists in Southeast Asia had just razed a local mosque to the ground.
A new poll of more than 27,000 people in 27 countries shows that 80% of those interviewed - in countries on all continents - would accept refugees in their country. The poll, carried out for Amnesty International by the global consulting firm GlobeScan, contrasts sharply with anti-refugee attitudes expressed by extremist organizations and politicians claiming to speak on behalf of "ordinary people" in their countries.
As tens of thousands of people in London and other British and continental European cities marched this past weekend in support of welcoming refugees, the question remains: "Are we really willing to take them in?"
The government has just announced that local councils, public bodies and university student unions are now to be banned by law from boycotting "unethical" companies. All publicly funded institutions will be prevented from boycotting companies "involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the West Bank".
This Sunday chances are your local mosque will be hoping for a visit from you. It will be "Visit my Mosque" day, a nation-wide event organized by the Muslim Council of Britain on Sunday 7 February in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
"Within one day we managed to reclaim this mosque for the community. It is not just a mosque now. It is a community centre for people whether they are Muslims or not. It is about humanity." With these words, the Chair of the Trustees of London's Finsbury Park Mosque, Mohammed Kozbar, opened a news conference of British Muslim leaders this week.
"I have the sincere belief that if people get to know each other, one on one, that they'll stop being afraid of each other, and we'll be able to get rid of all this hate in the world," said Rose Hamid, the 56-year-old Muslim flight attendant who stood up in silence during Donald Trump's campaign rally last week - and was ejected.
Our local mosque has just been saved by the rain. A young man in a white hoodie tried to set it ablaze. He was captured on CCTV tossing a gallon of fuel and a lighted torch paper into the grounds and then escaping on a moped.
High on the Moroccan Plateau is a remarkable university established by the country's king. Its royal mandate is to promote "the values of human solidarity and tolerance" in this predominantly Muslim nation.
The shame of the St Louis, now memorialized in holocaust museums around the world, is a timely reminder. Since the beginning of this year some 340,000 people have piled into boats or trekked overland to reach Europe. They have been called a "swarm", "marauders" and "cockroaches". By August, more than 2,000 had drowned crossing the Mediterranean.
This week, Khalid al-Assad, the 82-year-old archaeologist who was instrumental in the effort to save the site's priceless antiquities, was publicly beheaded and his headless corpse hung from the remains of a Roman column.
21/08/2015 14:54 BST
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