11 May


They’re funny folk in Manchester. This week they staged an anti-terrorism practice in a shopping centre – a pointless exercise if ever there was one. Afterwards Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan from Greater Manchester Police said:

“The scenario for this exercise is based on a suicide attack by an extremist Daesh-style organisation.However, on reflection we acknowledge that it was unacceptable to use the religious phrase Allahu Akbar immediately before the mock suicide bombing, which so vocally linked this exercise with Islam. We recognise and apologise for the offence that this has caused.”

And there was I thinking that quite a bit of the terrorism perpetrated in Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Yemen, Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia – to mention just a selection of preferred venues – is by Muslims.

Furthermore, I seem to remember that Allahu Akbar is the terrorists’ preferred manner of address while they are killing us.

But in the light of ACC Garry’s grovelling apology, I realise I must amend my thinking.

If I’ve only ever seen white swans, this doesn’t mean there are no black ones. And even if all the terrorist attacks I’ve seen reported involve the shout Allahu Akbar from the attacking Muslims, this does not entitle me to associate that particular war cry with Islam.

Next time a night club is attacked or a shopping centre bombed, I should bear in mind that the murderers might be Methodists. In which case, they might very well accompany their murderings with the blood-curdling cry, “The Women’s Bright Hour will meet on Wednesday afternoon.”

Or a terror attack might at any moment come from members of Sussex County Cricket Second Eleven with the shout of “Howzat?”

Or, if the terrorists were from Yorkshire Cricket, there would certainly be the more formal injunction, “Bang it in – yon bugger dunt like the short stuff!”

Or fans of the much-missed Ronnie Corbett screaming as they wield their machetes, “And it’s goodnight from me!”

But no – Garry is quite right to apologise to Muslims. Associating an attack with Islam could well damage community relations.

And perhaps damage them even more severely than any terrorist attack

15 Dec

Let’s all go to the manse

Well. I’m shocked and disappointed. I had always thought Methodism was a religion of peace and love – Wesley. peace be upon him. But now we learn that a despicable devotee of that faith has taken hostages and gone into a cafe in Sydney. Bystanders report that they heard his blood-curling cry, “Dear Lord and heavenly Father, we would ask thee for our harvest festival…for marrows and pumpkins, for courgettes and new potatoes…”

A local Catholic priest said, “They don’t drink, these Methodists, and that alone should have aroused suspicion from the start.”

Of course, this regrettable incident should be no excuse for Methodophobia. The great majority of moderate Methodists deplore what has taken place as strongly as anyone else.

However, we are bound to notice that, when we take account of these terrorist atrocities, they are all perpetrated by Methodists. Surely, on these grounds, we might tentatively suggest that there is something wrong with Methodism – a religion which states clearly that all those who will not subscribe to the chapel’s gift envelopes scheme should be beheaded.

Following this terrorist outrage, the government has, to its credit, taken a firm line and issued clear warning to the public. Avoid all bring and buy sales, all coffee mornings – which may sound innocent enough but which might on exceptional occasions result in attendees being denounced and their under-age daughters committed to marriages with dirty old Ministers and stewards of the collecting plate.

Above all, we must remember that these atrocities are not the fault of Methodism,which is a noble and life-enhancing religion

These atrocities are all our fault.

And so we come to our final hymn: Love Divine All Love Beheading…