Sunday 13 November 2016

A traditional 'Sunday'

Regular listeners to Radio 4's Sunday (me and Ed Stourton's dog?) won't be surprised to hear that the programme marked Remembrance Sunday and the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in France by inviting in Qari Asim MBE, the well-known imam from Leeds Mosque who laid a wreath at the Cenotaph today on behalf of Britain's Muslims.

The good imam expressed his belief that the attacks in Paris had nothing to do with Islam and that it's important that we all stand together and don't allow hate and division to take over in the wake of such attacks. He also said that the history of Muslims fighting in World War One provides a powerful argument against the 'far-right' in this country who don't think Muslims are wonderful contributors to our society.

The programme began though with the US elections and...can you guess?...yes, the fearful reactions of US Muslims to the prospect of a Trump presidencey. Here's William Crawley's introduction: 
Donald Trump's election has been hailed by his supporters as a victory for a new kind of politics, but many American Muslims, and other minority groups, say they're fearful that this new politics effectively legitimises racist attitudes that have been bubbling under the surface for many years. A wave of hate-crime attacks have followed last week's election, including numerous accounts of Muslim women and girls having their hijabs ripped off, reports of physical assaults and death threats. 
A strongly anti-Trump Muslim woman was then interviewed, with a very short clip from an interview with a pro-Trump Muslim women being included in the middle of it (for 'balance'), which the strongly anti-Trump Muslim woman then commented on (negatively).

The other Trump-related feature started from the question (as stated by William Crawley):
Why did so many white evangelical Christians - more than 80% of them - vote for Donald Trump?
(You'll note, not "Why did so many evangelical Christians vote for Donald Trump?" but "Why did so many white evangelical Christians vote for Donald Trump?").

The debate between Jim Wallis and Charmaine Yoest (the former described as a 'political activist', the latter a 'conservative') was surprisingly bitter, with Mr Wallis making it all about race (rather like Sunday here).

There was also an interview with the eternally-optimistic Terry Waite, who expressed his belief that "talking and diplomacy counts, not warfare" and that we could talk with the people "behind" Islamic State (though not with the organisation's head-choppers). "There are always people one can talk with", he said.

There was also a segment on "how people of faith can often feel awkward in the work place" that ended by suggesting that the problem needs to be addressed by us becoming as "religiously correct" as we are "politically correct".

It wasn't all political, 'liberal', agenda-driven stuff though. They also marked Remembrance Sunday with the story of how a bible saved a soldier's life in the the First World War (helping him dodge shrapnel by 'taking a bullet' for him). We learned that between 1914 and 1918 the Bible Society distributed more than 9 million 'books of scripture' (full bibles? New Testaments only?) in over 80 languages to members of the armed forces and POWs. 


  1. This will probably come as news to Beeboids, but ordinary Evangelical Christians tend not to like serial dishonesty and corruption.

  2. Isn't "Sunday" meant to be a programme about religion?

    Very strange then that it confuses the religion of Islam with race "but many American Muslims ... say they're fearful that this new politics effectively legitimises racist attitudes". Weird eh?

  3. About religious people feeling awkward in the workplace, this also featured in
    Laurie Taylor's Thinking Allowed last Wednesday in connection with an Anglican evangelical group that someone had researched. Funny that, when you consider prayer rooms being introduced in workplaces but of course, as with the BBC's fixation on the skin colour of Christian voters, it appears to depend on who is doing the religion whether it is exposed to ridicule or acceptance in workplaces.


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