Elliot's weekly round up: The Sheep and The Goat

Image: CC Pop H,  Flickr

Image: CC Pop H, Flickr

Last Friday Reker Ahmed, a 17 year old Kurdish Iranian student, was waiting at a bus stop in Croydon south London.  What happened to him next has been given much media attention.

he thought he was going to die

He was subjected to an unprovoked attack by up to thirty people. As a result Reker has suffered a fractured eye socket, a fractured spine and a blood clot on the brain. He was unable to recognise his brother when he visited him in London's Kings College Hospital.  Iraqi Kurds have condemned the attack. We can join with them in expressing our sympathy.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr Rekan Ahmed and we wish him a speedy recovery,”

Rather than being seen as an isolated event this attack can be seen as a part of a sustained increase in hate crime. As a result of the attack a number of people aged between 15 and 22 have been charged. Police are still investigating, there is an increased police presence on the streets surrounding the area.  In response to the attacks anti racist graffiti has appeared in the area.

I wonder if anti racist graffiti is enough?  The fact that this attack was launched from a pub named  The Goat reminds me of the passage in Matthew where the nations are separated as shepherds separate sheep and goats. 

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
— Matthew 25

Giving money is a start, as over two and a half thousand people have done on a just giving page for Reker Ahmed, but the passage in Matthew goes beyond that to get involved practically. Even if we don't know any asylum seekers personally we can champion their cause, speak on their behalf. And if we do count asylum speakers as friends we can share Jesus with them in practical ways. I'll leave you with a strong challenge that might apply to welcoming asylum seekers too.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
— James 2

Elliot's Weekly Roundup: statistics, something to pray about & is love in the air?

Image: Laura Ockel,  Unsplash

Image: Laura Ockel, Unsplash

In the media this week: statistics, something to pray about and is love in the air?

Islam is the only religion growing faster than the world’s population and it will be the largest in the world by 2070, researchers have found.

The article also includes information about European attitudes towards Muslims. Reading this could be seen as overwhelming.  But let's make a choice not be overwhelmed by numbers and statics. Instead lets take the increasing opportunities that present themselves to share Jesus to those around us.  Even though the report states that attitudes to Muslims are not so negative in the UK there is still much room for us to model good relations and to help to shape attitudes positively.

Majorities in Hungary, Italy, Poland,and Greece say they view Muslims unfavourably, while negative attitudes towards Muslims are much less common in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Northern and Western Europe.

Meanwhile a new project has been started by four newspapers in Europe documenting conditions experienced by refugees and asylum seekers.  It states that Britain is one of the worst destinations for people seeking asylum in Western Europe. The following video clip shows the desperate reality of asylum seekers- many of whom are Muslim.  The question that it left me thinking about is how can I respond as an individual/ as a family/as part of a church/ as a British citizen.  Come on let's help make this place more welcoming!

The UN is warning that thousands of Rohingya children are suffering as "indirect victims" of the crackdown against suspected militants in Burma. Let's continue to pray for a change in this situation.

There is going to be a new TV programme on Channel 4 starting on Thursday. The first programme follows young men and women as they attempt to find spouses with the help of family, dating sited and the mosque marriage bureau.  It is set in Birmingham where:

...a baby boy is more likely to be called Mohammed than any other name...

The second programme deals with growing up as a young Muslim in the shadow of the news.  The third programme is about the rules of Islam and how they are interpreted.

In an insightful article, the creator of the show explained how the programme was made as a response to her daughter asking: "Mummy, what's a terrorist?"  She states the challenge of growing up as a Muslim in a post 9/11 world. " We grew up with Rosie and Jim, they are growing up with Jihadi John." 

...we did want to put ourselves in a Muslim community and explore and record the day to day lives and experiences of ordinary Muslims in the UK.

 I think I'll watch it. Pray.  Then use the insight gained from the programme in my interactions with my Muslim friends. Why don't you do the same. Let me know how you get on!