From our Muslim Chaplain

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On this Friday, what is my last day of the 2020 Academic year – I feel like my goodbyes have not been properly made with final year students. The pandemic saw to it that we left many things unsaid and on a thread, back at the end of March, when there were so many more unknowns. Usually this time of year is depressing for me because of that very reason- saying goodbye to students moving on to pastures new. Nonetheless, on what seems like an eternity this lockdown certainly has taken its toll on how I have perceived time and space in the literal sense of the words. Lockdown all over the world has clearly unsettled some deep-rooted ills within our world and without wanting to dwell too much on the #BlackLivesMatter issue, I think it deserves a few words of reflection at the very least. What happened to George Floyd is not the first, but it certainly has had a profound impact on me. Where do we draw the line on the use of excessive force when detaining someone? How much of a threat was George Floyd posing, before he was detained? Can this be justified by the police force?

With so many unanswered questions, I look back in horror over the treatment of this individual. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video knowing that he had died moments later. As he gasped for air, it reminds me of when I was gasping for air only a few weeks ago when I was unwell. I pray and hope the George’s family and friends get peace at this difficult time. I also pray that his perpetrators get justice that is appropriate.

On this, my last Friday – I remind you all of the words of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) in his last public address to his people, before he too took his final breaths only a few months later. This is an excerpt only and not the entire speech, and the words resonate as though they were spoken  for this specific time we are in.
“…there is no superiority for an Arab over a non-arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab. Neither is the light-skinned superior over the dark-skinned, nor the dark-skinned superior over the light-skinned, except by piety…”

These words do ring true in this time, and even regarding ‘piety’ we must be careful that we do not think of ourselves better than others because we are seemingly more ‘practicing’. It is about piety according how God judges us. I don’t really feel like this is the end and I am working on another lockdown poem. So here is the beginning of my latest poem…if you can think of more things that have changed for us during this pandemic please do email me on – and maybe I might do a Facebook or Insta live collaboration session! Just search for “Atique Miah Chaplain”

Keep well, stay safe and keep in touch!

Twas the year our personal space extended two meters apart
Twas the year when signage made one way systems in our shopping marts
Twas the year when the shelves were empty in those same shops
Twas the year when toilet rolls and baked beans ran out, along with mops
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Atique Miah

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