The next two days were to be super intensive. It wasn’t only the lectures I was scheduled to give (six in the two days of the weekend) but the questions and discussions that went on around and after the lectures.
One of the
highlights of the whole conference was being able to help answer the questions
of young Canadian lady Jenny, and being part her journey to Islam, which she
accepted on Sunday evening, taking her Shahaada right up on the front stage,
and even amazingly courageously giving a small speech to thank all those who
had helped her on her journey!
She had some quite detailed questions about the origins of Christianity and the Bible and Quran, which is an area of some speciality for me, so it was great to be able to put that knowledge to some good use.
highlight of the whole conference had to be the talk by a sister from Chechnya who’s husband Yahyaer Ibrahim was virtually paralysed and was receiving
treatment in hospital in
Wow! What a statement. If the men of this Muslim nation were like this woman of the Chechens, the world would be a different place!
On Sunday she came with her husband and they showed us some of the pictures they had taken, and I sat with Ibrahim and took notes as he explained about the conflict.
It really was humbling meeting people who have suffered so much, and are so determined to continue the struggle in any way that they could.
so many brothers and sisters who deserve a mention, and without doubt among
them are some of the most wonderful people I have met in
I was particularity glad to be able to give a lecture on "Youth and Marriage", as this is an area that has occupied my thoughts for quite sometime. In fact it was my visits to
This proved a “hot topic”, and the debate continued on Sunday night when I was invited to dinner at the house of a Libyan brother who had completely traditional ideas, yet his fifteen year old son was admitting that most of his Muslim friends had girlfriends. The whole girlfriend boyfriend scenario is such a destructive and sad way to live, that runs roughshod over the deepest of emotions. Yet for most, abstinence is just not an option. Parents have to think deeply and try to understand the sort of extreme pressures their kids are under. It’s all connected to another one of my lectures “The Importance of Dawa.” Either you are calling, or someone is calling you. Either you are giving Dawa, or dawa is being given to you!
It was late Sunday night by the time I got to bed, and sleep was no more that a few hours. I had to pack and then headed of for an early farewell breakfast. After that it was off to the airport. I was sad, af course to leave so many kind and nice people, but I hope I had left others with some thoughts on marriage, Dawa, the nature of Islam and Muslims living together in multi cultural societies and what that means in terms of the future relationships between the Islamic world and the West. I certainly am still thinking even harder about these and other issues of concern to us all.
When I got
“I’m glad that for once giving someone the benefit of the doubt was the right thing to do!” He said.
That pleased me no end.
people can live together in peace, like we do here in
“You are of course, absolutely right!” I affirmed.
Still, I needed to be escorted to the aircraft by another Federal Officer, but it was all done with great discretion.
There was one last thing, and I really wasn’t expecting this!
A reception at Heathrow.
Two extremely polite gentlemen were waiting for me at the passport desk. I was ushered into a small room and offered a cup of tea quite a few times, and eventually accepted.
These two gentlemen, unlike their Canadian counterparts, knew exactly what they were talking about. They seemed very concerned that they treated me better than the Canadians, and I have to give it to them, they did! The interview was no more than an hour, although they were more thorough in copying the contacts from my mobile phone and making copies of all the papers in my baggage (mostly notes from my lectures) and wallet . And their interview technique was certainly different.
One gentleman, very tall, white and very English with a tinge of northern accent (I think) began by asking me how I became Muslim, and seemed very sympathetic to the feelings of Muslims over Iraq and Palestine and what did I think of it? Of course I agreed that there was anger, and sadness over so much hypocrisy, but that of course, didn’t justify blowing up women and children. We have many peaceful means to make our voice heard and have out point of view taken note of. We should use those.
The second gentleman, shorter, seemed to be Asian, might even have been Muslim, but I couldn’t quite make out. He smiled a lot, and sooo politely apologised when I asked about his faith, he couldn’t tell me anything about himself!
they asked me about my activities in
“Excuse me! Sorry to delay you again. We forgot to return you phone.”
I had to sit for another ten to fifteen minuets. A short wait, but then I was out. Out and on my way to home sweet home.
Certainly, travel is taste of punishment!
Especially these days.