How can we expect non-Muslims to believe that Islam is a religion of peace, when Muslim mobs around the world make liars of us all, Muhammad included?
The Brooms of Britain
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
"I was sick of the senseless smashing up of our own communities. It’s good to see there’s a real sense of community with people from all over Liverpool — a vicar, mums, and students — coming to help."
~Anna Mason, 16, who, after reading in Facebook about clean-up efforts, joined the community with broom in hand.
After all the coverage of riots and burning and breaking, here’s a heart-warming story coming out of England. Flocks of people are taking to the streets of London, Liverpool, and other areas with their brooms in hand to help restore their streets and sidewalks after the riots. At the heart of community is the enduring spirit of a people who weather the tumult of history and move forward.
It’s worth pointing out that, nearly six months ago, a similar sense of community bonding was taking place in Cairo with wonderful images of volunteers scrubbing down streets and one of the iconic lion statues at the Qasr el-Nil bridge leading to Tahrir Square after the protests. A bit of the connective tissue of humanity binds us together, non?
About the lead image: People show their brooms to Boris Johnson, mayor of London, as they prepare to clean their streets in Clapham Junction, in south London. (photo: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)
It is impossible for someone like myself, who grew up in one of the worst-affected areas during the Troubles, not to notice that the areas now reeling from riots, burning cars and confrontations with the police are the very same ones that suffered most in previous decades. This is no coincidence. It is no coincidence either that these riots are not taking place in more well-to-do parts of the province, just as they didn’t in the past. I watch these youngsters and, all but for a change of fashion, they could be the same people who were on the streets in the 70s and 80s. It is soul-destroying to observe.
—Mary O’Hara, from her op-ed "Poverty Is the Backdrop to the Riots in Northern Ireland" in today’s Guardian.
As I read this, I couldn’t help but think of our recent interview with John Paul Lederach and his emphasis on peace as a long-term effort that comes about by finding solutions to basic needs, such as employment and housing that is needed in these impoverished parts of Belfast.
Trent Gilliss, senior editor