Monthly Archives: January 2016

Mmps Poetry, Art & Nasheed Competition’s Judging Day! 28/1/16

I was honoured to be on the panel as an observer at the finals of Manchester Muslim Prep School’s judging day joined by the powerhouse of a woman called Mrs Mohammed, Head of Islamic High School For Girls and Zahid Hussain, acclaimed author and social entrepreneur. Joined by inspirational teachers, Head of the PreP, Mrs Ali and Geo Tv to cover the day, the children’s efforts were fantastic. Many showed confidence and talent in their field of entry. Brilliant to see how this inspiring generation will no doubt be excellent citizens contributing to the society they live in. Very very proud x  

    
    
   

Poetry reading at Royal Foundation of St Katherines, London 22/1/16

I have had a wonderful two days in the company of some inspirational individuals while staying at the Royal Foundation of St Katherines. Travelling with the formidable Anjum Anwar who has pioneered important dialogue development at Blackburn Cathedral, I was introduced to US ( United Society ) who were hosting a conference with delegates arriving from Kenya, Ghana, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. US work to encourage conversations between Muslims and Christians in Pakistan, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania as well as locally within the community. 

Professor Dr Klaus Hock of PROCMURA, Archbishop Dr Josiah Idowu Fearon, Revd Dr Johnson Mbillah, Canon Chris Chivers, Anjum Anwar and Canon Steven Saxby all provided intriguing conversation on the positive work being done to foster productive relationships between the faiths. 

My role for the evening was to perform a commissioned poem that summerised worship, peace and service to close the event. Many heartfelt thanks go to Anjum who invited me and Rachel who was a fantastic host and now friend. A truly wonderful experience x 

Aalam-e-Arwah

If we could turn our backs on the chaos

Stop lynching humanity – bury barbarism and bigotry
in two equal lots with three measures of pure earth, 
imagine what we could cultivate.

And if we forget for a moment
the explosions of hatred detonated by madmen, 
cool the heat and brimstone searing the skin of all hearts,
ignore zealots adorned with crucifix and sword
And the oppressor’s tyranny as his weaponry roars.

 If we could forget about greed and money   

ban all murder and destruction,
make kindness the only mother tongue
each nation could understand,
there would be no hearts of stone to
chisel into false gods.

If we could walk backwards through history,

A straight line through time

Leave world wars with despots and dictators
And man made famine and diseases behind
Through the age of information
Keep trudging through the middle ages,
Bypass the iron, bronze, stone and it’s enlightenment
Claw through the darkness and hike through the ice
Marvel at the formation that six days would curate, 

We would return to that home before time began.
Step into the realm of that beautiful kingdom,

As familiar to us as the inscripted whorls of our fingertips

Aalam-e-arwah, home, sacred sanctuary,

Where all our souls were fashioned by the Creator
Yours and mine
Where we lived in harmony and love
Where time and space did not define us
Where crosses, crescents, stars did not divide us
Where we conversed, understood each other
Hands locked in unison, took oaths together – 
Who is your Lord? He asked
‘You are! You are! You are!’ we answered
And angels sang, Hallelulaj, hallelulaj
And we answered ‘There is no God but Him’
La illa ha, la illa ha …illallah

If we could go back and learn,

All that we have forgotten
From Muhammad, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus
Peace be upon them all
If we could remember that our spirits are inherently beautiful
If we could refill our vessels with belief
That we are connected on this earth too
That humankind is the only name we should ink upon ourselves
That we are mischpachah – families of this earth
Side by side, and we allow our inner light to shine

If we recognize why we are attracted to some and not others

If we remember how we forged ancestral friendships
If we ponder over our spiritual closeness with strangers we just happen to know  
What we could learn from a glorious past
Cultivate what’s already illuminated in the Qalb, my heart

If we explored the universe within

Go from my straight line to the only symbol needed
A full circle, joining you by divine love, to me
This is not a new beginning, we have met already
Jewels of humanity we carried all along
Come, let’s share the familiar story of our holy deference, revel in our oneness
We are love encompassed, lets make this home…

   

  

  

  

  

  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bare Lit Festival – Championing the Cause of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic writers

Very interesting article!

Caribbean Book Blog

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Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) writers in the U.K. are being marginalised and pigeonholed by the British publishing establishment, which is overwhelmingly white.

This was one of the disturbing findings of the Writing the Future report, commissioned by the writer development agency, Spread the Word and released at last year’s London Book Fair.

The report was the result of of a major new survey of writers, literary agents and mainstream and independent publishers to determine whether they thought cultural diversity was improving in the the UK publishing industry. The report’s findings show that over 74% of those employed by major publishing houses and 97% of agents believed that the industry is only “a little diverse” or “not diverse at all”.

What’s more, the few BAME authors who succeed in getting published are being urged to focus on producing literary fiction that propagates stereotypes of their communities and culture, by addressing topics…

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Junior School Poetry Workshop on ‘Light’ 11/1/16

Poetry Primary school workshop all done and dusted this morning! Love the energy and creative imPoetry Primary school workshop all done and dusted! Love the energy and creative imagination of these budding poets! Can’t wait for finished drafts! 🙂