Good News Unnoticed

“Imagine if 40,000 Muslims gathered together in the south of England to swear a pledge of allegiance to Isis,” prompts Rina Wolfson in an article in the Jewish Chronicle (4th August, 2017): a media storm would ensue. But, 40,000 Muslims denouncing violence and raising the Union Flag? Not a glimmer, except for this sole reporter, attending the Jalsana convention to report on a Jewish scholar lecturing Ahmadi Muslims on the Shroud of Turin. Yes, you did read that correctly, and, it has to be said, that, in a world that can produce such wonderful incongruities, there really is a chance to build things better.

The Ahmadiya are a powerful force for good in the world, one that, unfortunately, is largely ignored in the West and persecuted by other Muslims, yet which keeps on striving to make the world a better place.

At a time when Islamophobes and Wahhabists seek to drag us all into conflict, when Labour is dominated by anti-Semites and hypocrites, when the Tories are hell-bent on destroying themselves in yet another power-struggle and the Lib Dems are trying to arouse fear and hatred over Brexit, when America is tearing itself apart and North Korea is raising world tensions, when the media seems full of hatred and reports on hatred, we need reminders that there are good people out there: Lots of them.

The hatemongers are a minority with loud voices: it’s why they have to shout, to drown out the minority of quietly-decent people. People who are genuinely tolerant and compassionate, not narcissistic and bile-filled virtue-signallers.

Despite the doom and gloom and the attempts to stir conflict, I can’t say I’ve encountered any of that negativity amongst real people. Going into town, people are happy, pleasant, friendly, helpful, with no noticeable exceptions. People of different races, different religions, different politics are all rubbing along happily together, treating one another with decency and respect. In fact, I think people are happier and friendlier than before the referendum.

While one might worry about the fragility of such a peace, I believe it is a robust one. Again and again, people have shown they won’t be driven to hate by terrorist atrocities, that they won’t be divided by racists trying to piggyback on either Leave or Remain, that they won’t fall prey to the lies of demagogues. There is still hope and its symbol is a Jewish man telling Muslim women about a Catholic relic at a gathering dedicated to peace. We could do with many more such incongruities in this world!


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