GOTF Muhammad Al Hussaini podcast
Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini came to the attention of many when in 2015 he chose to defend in court the Pentecostal pastor Rev Jim McConnell from Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle, Belfast’s biggest church. McConnell had preached a sermon where he categorised Islam as “heathen” and “satanic” and a “doctrine spawned in hell”. Yet Muhammad defended the pastor and developed a friendship with him. In court he defended McConnell’s right to free-speech. Muhammad is a Muslim from London with not only a love for Irish folk music but a commitment to building relationships of peace with Christians and Jews and those of other faiths from his own. Over the years he has visited Rostrevor a number of times and has become a strong friend of ours. One of Muhammad’s firm convictions is that we should not seek a bland peace between faiths. Rather we should be able to rigorously debate and defend our differences in a way that does not demonise but builds understanding through authentic dialogue. He calls this a “higher quality of disagreement”. This phrase has become one of the key back bones to a series of events at the centre Jonny leads called An Cuan. These events have been convened by Tommy Sands, Jonny Clark and www.artsawonder.com a local community arts and reconciliation initiative.
GOTF Podcast - Peter Adams: Spaces of Grace in a Divided City
Peter Adams is a remarkable and courageous man of peace. He plays a crucial role in building community relations and sustaining genuine peace through dialogue and relationships in a very fractured context. Luton, on the northern edge of London is where Peter works and has been known as a place where both the far right English Defence League emerged, and a small group of extremist Muslims operated. Peter is one of a number of amazing faith leaders from both the Christian and Muslim communities who are leading the way in building bridges in their community. Peter has been awarded the Outstanding Citizen award by the mayor among other commendations. His whole work can be summed up as “creating a space of grace”. We filmed the interview in front of a sculpture called “Phoenix” made from knives taken from knife amnesty bins. This was part of a project inspired by Shane Claiborne where the prophetic hope of “they shall beat their swords into ploughshares” is embodied in redemptive art pieces. The stained glass window behind us is by the artist Alan Younger. The window was made in 1978 and Younger said for him it captures the many emotions that Mary would have experienced on learning from the angel she would bear a son and he would be the saviour of the world. Follow Peter on @pgmadams or @stmaryspeace and his blog is reconciliationtalk.org/
GOTF Podcast - Tommy Sands
Tommy Sands is one of Ireland’s most well known folk singers. He has played both with some of the biggest names in music around the world and has also spent time teaching prisoners to write songs. Tommy is also a peace activist and has been an important voice for reconciliation in Northern Ireland since the 1970’s. Many of his songs are calls for peace, like “There were Roses”, and the song he wrote with Pete Seeger “The Music of Healing”. Tommy and his wife and I and a small collective in our village have also been involved in the last 5 years in pursuing a “higher quality of disagreement” among religious leaders and political leaders in Ireland. Tommy has a voice of kindness and magnanimity, but one that is also passionate to include those who are left out in society. Tommy’s book and music can be ordered through his website tommysands.com including his brilliant latest cd “Fair Play To You All”. *** We’re grateful for all of your support through Patreon and by rating or reviewing these podcasts on iTunes or wherever you listen to them. We’re also hugely grateful to the Community Relations Council of Northern Ireland for their support of this season of podcasts.
GOTF Podcast - Stephen Travers
Stephen Travers is an inspiring figure who was one of two survivors of the Miami Showband Massacre. The story of the bombing of his band was recently featured in the Netflix series “ReMastered”. Today Stephen is a passionate voice for reconciliation and also for the truth about historic injustices to be made known. The Miami Showband were one of the biggest of Ireland’s showbands in the mid 70’s. They regularly attracted crowds into the thousands. On 31st July 1975 the infamous Glenanne Gang gunned down three of the band’s members after a bomb the gang was attempting to plant on the band’s bus exploded prematurely. Stephen founded the Truth and Reconciliation Platform (TARP) with Eugene Reavey who is featured in our Guardians Of The Flame documentary.