‘The ink of a scholar is nobler than the blood of a martyr…’ M (PBUH)

So, I thought it was about time that I started a blog. I’m definitely a word person and I derive a lot of comfort from expressing myself and from reading. I’ll share a memory with you to give you an insight into who I am and what I stand for. I attended an event at King’s College London not too long ago. The thinktank Ipsos Mori were showcasing the findings of a survey on perceptions of the military in the UK and beyond. The Chair of the panel was the former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Professor Sir Simon Wessely. I had a few meetings with Professor Wessely before the event and so he had some idea of my proclivities. Following the presentation, there was a question and answer session and members of the audience were invited to contribute. I confidently raised my arm up and gained the attention of the Chair and asked the panel how many participants in their survey were Muslim. It turned out that not a single person recruited for their study was an adherent of the Islamic faith (you would think that the British Army would be interested in how Muslims perceive them since their most recent military operations were in Muslim majority countries! Muslims are also underrepresented in the British Armed Forces and there is currently a drive to recruit more people from this Abrahamic faith to join their ranks. I was later invited to Whitehall were I presented the findings of my survey entitled, ‘Muslim perceptions of British combat troops’ to military officials from the Ministry of Defence.) I think the consensus among the panel was that I made a valid point. The Chair then said (almost affectionately), “That will be enough from you!!” The point is, with so much injustice in the world, I have a lot to say and in the words of Albert Camus, ‘To be silent is to help the oppressor’. Islamophobia is rife in Europe at the moment and I’m hoping to challenge that in whatever way I can. We know that there is an association between Islamophobia and psychological distress in Muslims. I think a good start would be through the power of the written word, after all, ‘The ink of a scholar is nobler than the blood of a martyr…’ (Muhammed (PBUH)

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