Blogtrawling today I came up with small, bright nuggets which illuminated, sharpened perspective and made me realise that I had been skateboarding across the emotional surface for a while.

I have no idea who this man is, or the happy little guy with the new pair of socks, but I found it strangely heartwarming…

Edited from a blog by Bethany Gaddis, a young mother from Florida. “Wherever we are, our surroundings have an “understory.” – references to the life unseen and often unacknowledged within the interstices of everyday events and images, like a tale of the riverbank, existing and thriving without our awareness but are crucial to the livelihood of our environment. ” The phrase stuck with me, a metaphor for “The Wind in the Willows”.

We all have an understory. There are things happening under the surface of our daily lives that go unseen, sometimes even by ourselves. Yet they are an integral part of who we are and how we interact with the “seen” parts of life. They surface, like underground streams, sometimes briefly, almost unnoticed. Yet, if we miss the light catching on the water, we impoverish ourselves.

Islam Beheaded

Jerry Falwell, the presidential kingmaker, died recently, his legacy being to raise the profile of the Christian Right with the influence of its large voting bloc in US politics. Jerry put his foot in it more than once, inter alia referring unkindly to Mohammed as a ‘terrorist’. It might be argued that he only did for Christianity what many radical imams do for Islam every Friday in London mosques.

Falwell’s disastrous legacy does not lie only in American politics. He, like many of his evangelical brethren, took an aggressive and inhospitable view of religions other than Christianity.  I was well aware of his characterizations of Islam, and how they served to divide and set people at odds with one another, rather than to encourage peace and harmonious relationships. His belligerent stance against other religions only facilitates stereotyping and arrogance, both of which enable the kind of ongoing conflict and warfare we see today between America and various Muslim countries.

Clearly, this isn’t mine. It is from here

Even a cursory reading of the Quran, which increasing numbers of Westerners have done since 9/11 suggests the concept of Ms Taylor’s Muslims for Progressive Values is is a wee bit disingenuous, even oxymoronic. Muslims don’t do progressive since doublethink is a prevailing mindset within Islam and its nominal proponents seek less to reconcile its barbaric beginnings with appropriately 21st century human rights than simply replace them. There is a chink in the armour, however. Islam dragged its feet when mass printing became available; they continue to do so in the era of Internet communications. In the propaganda war, Islam will lose out ideologically since it is losing the race against time. That’s why Muslims work so hard to curb freedom of religious speech and any “mockery” or even rational criticism targeting Islam in infidel countries. Will Muslims bomb away freedom of speech in the West before we attempt to detonate this unexploded bomb underneath Islam’s feet? Every time there is a terrorist attack, we respond by increasing the volume of criticism of Islam in circulation on the Internet. Some would claim that this isn’t our fight. Yeah. Right. Ernest Renan, the influential French thinker and almost-priest, scourge of both Catholicism and Islam, has said that if there ever was something like a Reformation in the Islamic world, the West should gracefully stay out of it. However, he lived in the 19th century and could not have imagined that we would be naive enough to let millions of Muslims settle in major Western cities. We are implicated now, whether we want to be or not. We are no longer just ‘fighting’ against Islam but for our own freedom of speech, and thus democracy itself, which some might assert is worth fighting for. Maybe we can’t slay the dragon, but we can almost certainly help the people who can.