Quotes from BBC Radio 4.
The Today programme 'Thought for the day' – 22/08/2013 – Abdal Hakim Murad, Muslim chaplain at the University of Cambridge.
Like in Northern Ireland "one finds the mainstream leaders in the Islamic world consistently advocating unity and reconciliation".
Talking about Sunni and Shi'i communities "Watching the differences in their form of prayer, one is reminded of how slight the differences are…".
Saturday Live. Saturday 17 Aug 2013 09:00 BBC Radio 4 – Tom Robinson (rock musician and campaigner).
"It's interesting about identity too isn't it; .. sometimes people get really their knickers in a twist over you being gay or bisexual or something, it's just one way of describing who somebody is, I'm a cyclist You get off the bike I'm a pedestrian You get into a car I'm a motorist I mean It's just a different way of slicing identity, so .. cyclist motorist I'm both" "We're all multi identities aren't we" Richard Coles.
Stewart Rayment makes pertinent comments in his review of Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi's cookery and cultural book:
"It has always been my contention, drawing opprobrium from zealots of both Israel and Palestine, that the peoples of that country have more in common with each other than they do with some of their neighbours." interLib (the magazine of Liberal International British Group) September 2013 p. 21.
I disagree with Stewart on the last point – Jewish Israelis and Arab Palestinians have as much in common with each other and with their neighbours. My experience of Balkan, Bosnian / Serbian / Albanian / Bulgarian / Macedonian / Greek / Turkish / Lebanese / Jewish food, culture and religious practice is that the different ethnic and religious groups are very similar and that people who are very similar fight because some leaders and their followers deliberately stir up trouble. The similarities in the food and culture of the Levant, Balkans and Mediterranean (Jewish cuisine influenced by all three and more) are obvious; the similarities in religion are also obvious. Jews and Muslims have many similar religious practices (down to how animals are killed), and the differences with Christians are mirrored by many similarities; the differences between branches of Christianity that were exploited for untold slaughter in the past seem relatively minor in the West today and the Roman Catholic church could act as a bridge with the Eastern Orthodox. The differences between different factions of Islam seem much smaller and yet leaders and zealots exploit these tiny differences to kill the innocent in a way that their founder and founding fathers never intended. This has been true of people who called themselves Christian throughout much of two thousand years also, and still of some who clothe themselves in that title today.
The fanatics who think they are Muslims (who the British media call Islamists) and blow themselves up on the dictat of leaders should think of the words of master German spy Herman Goertz, who was parachuted into Ireland to help the IRA against the British. He said to his 'comrades' "You know how to die for Ireland, but how to fight for it you have not the slightest idea". (Quoted by Tim Pat Coogan, the IRA, Palgrave NY edition, 2002, p. 215).
I thought this quote was "how to live for her you have not the slightest idea". That is a better sentiment. It is more difficult than a momentary sacrifice of your lives and others in the interests of hate or revenge. Get revenge by great achievements – cure cancer, make electricity for people, feed people, educate against war. Use their legal tools against those who claim to be right. That is all too difficult.
Jerusalem Ebury Press 2012 and BBC 4 tv programme 'Jerusalem on a Plate' December 2011; for how the book has become a sensation see the New York Times review of 30 July 2013 by Julia Moskin.