It has been a while since Sentient Seas has published anything. The main reason being that I have been very busy with other publishing projects so I hope you enjoy this piece – the first since 1.1.17. It is an address by the scholar and author Karen Armstrong given to a packed Leeds Town Hall for the 2007 Schumacher North Lectures. I recorded this for a film and very much enjoyed her delivery.
Armstrong is internationally recognised as an authority on the history of religion, particularly Islam, and has written extensively on the problems of inter-religious understanding and fundamentalism. Her work points towards the possibility of a new inclusive, post-modern spirituality that could help to heal the tragic divisions and misunderstandings that are apparent today.
As it happens of late, on occasion, I have sadly been witness to incidences of anti-Muslim prejudice. This disturbs me profoundly as those uttering such, aside from such conduct being extremely disrespectful, generally have not the slightest understanding, on any level – of what they are seeking to denigrate with such utterances. I feel also that there is an axiom of prejudice that has been exascerbated by certain media outlets over nearly the last two decades or so that has sought to deliberately demonise Islam and its believers.
As it happens almost all Muslim folk that I have met over my life have been sincere, hard-working, warm, and generous people – and it pains me to hear of an entire faith group being bullied and scorned to suit various nefarious and misguided agendas. So pulling this out of the archives has been a reaction to that.
This piece is published on the 11th of September 2017, the 16th anniversary of the horrendous attack on New York City in 2001. An event, which in some ways helped define an atmosphere for the early part of the 21st Century, and proceeded the hideous wars and conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere in more recent time.