A long time ago I lived in England for a short, but glorious, time. The beauty of the West Yorkshire moors combined with a high percentage of residents of Pakistani descent and the smell of curry wafting down the street made my little bit of Bradford feel like on overlooked corner of Heaven.
So when Ira Glass told me to check out a new podcast called The Trojan Horse Affair about a scandal in Birmingham, England involving Muslims, I told him yes, I’ll listen. He said the fall out of a mysterious letter to the City Council has adversely effected thousands of school kids, mostly Muslims, in England and beyond.
Three episodes in, I’m really glad I did. And I want to invite you to check it out as well. Here’s why:
- A local journalist student named Hamza Syed convinces a New York Times veteran, Brian Reed, to help him get to the bottom of the scandal. Their interactions and developing friendship shed light on how life is different for brown and white people. At one point, Brian winces at the accusing tone of a man they’d hoped to interview, “He made me feel like a criminal and we’re trying to do what’s right!” Hamza replies, “That’s my *****ing life, mate.” To his credit, Brian accepts the mirror Hamza holds up to his life.
- Another reason to listen is that The Trojan Horse Affair points out differences among different groups of Muslims in Birmingham. It’s easy for me to slide into thinking in terms of “those Muslims,” “the Muslim world,” etc. I’m helped by a reminder that different groups of Muslims face challenges in getting along, similar to the way Christians do.
I’m only half way through, so no guarantees on how it ends! (And note: there is some explicit language.)
To benefit the rest of the Muslim Connect tribe, please share your thoughts on The Trojan Horse Affair. Even better, post some other podcasts that will help us think about Muslims the way God does and love them like Jesus does.