Monday, 17 December 2012

BBC Radio Scotland - Thought for the Day

by Dr. Amanullah De Sondy
Assistant Professor in Islamic Studies, University of Miami, FL.

Scotland’s tennis hero, Andy Murray, has sent a message to the families of the 26 people shot dead in the Sandy Hook school atrocity in the USA.  The US open champion had been reflecting and sympathising given his own experiences in his hometown of Dunblane and the tragedy there.  Americans have been united in grief and condemnation of this incident that has left many seeking further gun control.  The way in which Americans are able to acquire guns has always puzzled me. 

I witnessed this first hand when a locksmith was shot dead when he and a police officer tried to evict a squatter in the block of flats next to mine in south beach, Miami.    Arriving home from Miami with a heavy heart because of these recent events has left me thinking about how our lives differ from place to place yet in some way are connected.  It seems that the locations may change but the events sadly stay the same.  At a time when many of us are reconnecting with families and friends during this festive season we are pushed to consider how connected we are beyond our loved ones.  I was sent a photograph of Pakistani children in the capital city, Karachi, lighting candles with a placard reading, ‘we grieve for you as we hope you too grieve for us’, clearly a statement against recent drone attacks seeking terrorists which unfortunately have killed many children too.  

In the last few months I’ve been traveling a lot to many cities in the USA and the UK.  Meeting different people from all walks of life often left me thinking about how different we are yet in the face of life and death we begin to appreciate our shared humanity.  It reminds me of the Islamic tradition which details how the prophet Muhammad stood for the passing funeral and was asked why he was doing this for the deceased was a Jew.  “Does this person not possess a soul?” was the firm answer. 

Now more than ever before I feel we need to celebrate our unique identities and locations yet find points of connection as we ponder and reflect on difficult times.   


  1. Thank you for these words of peace and comfort!

  2. Here is the part where the Muslim boy chanted and afterwards a Muslim man spoke.