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Jesus continues to inspire us today

Maximilian Kolbe, and other Christians who have lived and died for their faith should inspire all of us, regardless of our individual religious faiths or beliefs.

Until 23 January, you can listen to my appearance on BBC Radio Manchester's Mike Shaft programme at this link. I appeared two different times.

At 1:47:05 I read out the text of my "Thought for Christmas Day" which is below. We also chatted briefly.

  1. I shared with Mike an outline of 400 words I had written about why Britain is a wonderful country, as part of responding to a still-live consultation regarding extremism being undertaken by the Commission for Countering Extremism which is led by Sara Khan.
  2. Mike Shaft also asked me about some of the organisations I am very active in, and I mentioned my roles with The Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester, The Conservative Muslim Forum, The Islam & Liberty Network and the Advisory Board of Children of Peace.

At 2:43:24 we had a longer chat about the highlight of my year, which was the Conservative Muslim Forum's trip to Israel and the West Bank. In particular I talked about the terrible problems of Hebron, and why Jerusalem is the most memorable place I have ever been to.

Posted 25 December 2018

BBC Radio Manchester recently asked me if I would come into the studio on Christmas Day.

I agreed, and suggested that I do a special "Thought for Christmas Day" similar to my regular "Thought for the Week" broadcasts. I followed the same format; 90-seconds worth of text read into the microphone. You can read it below.

I believe very strongly that Muslims should talk more about Jesus. Despite the extensive coverage the Quran gives to Jesus, in practice most Muslims are reluctant to talk about him; I suspect for a variety of reasons connected with how they see other religions.

Thought for Christmas Day

I have a question. Who is the most famous person who ever lived? Really, there is no contest.

Jesus of Nazareth is venerated not only by 2 billion Christians but also by over 1.5 billion Muslims. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the only woman mentioned by name in the Quran. The Quran tells us the same thing about the birth of Jesus as the Bible, namely that Jesus was born of a virgin.

Today his birth will be celebrated around the world. The words of Jesus ring out from the Bible, telling us what it means to be good. Being a Muslim does not stop me being inspired by Christians who lived for their faith.

From the time I first heard it, I have never forgotten the story of the Franciscan monk, Maximilian Kolbe.

Jesus said in the Gospel of John “Greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Maximilian Kolbe volunteered to die to save a complete stranger. In 1941, in Auschwitz, he offered to be executed instead of a Polish soldier who was married with children. That man lived long enough to see Maximilian Kolbe being made a saint at the Vatican. Pope John Paul 2 declared him "The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century."

Our country has many different religious groups. We need to live together as one cohesive society. There is a technique that completely changes the way you think about other people’s religions.

For every religion that you come across, learn to ask the question: “What are the good things about this religion that I like?

Additional reading

A Google site search on my website reveals, as expected, that the name of Jesus is mentioned many times. I have selected just four pages to recommend:

Review of "Jesus, Prophet of Islam" by Muhammad Ata'ur-Rahim and Ahmad Thomson

A brief introduction to Islam for non-Muslims

Triangulating the Abrahamic faiths – measuring the closeness of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

My reflection on Christmas


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