October 4th, 2005

Showing My Prejudices

The trees along King's Rd are turning. Some are now bright yellow all over, others have patches of red. Those that are not yet rusting look sorry for themselves.

I sit in the waiting room at the health centre while Ailz goes through diabetic clinic. First I read the publicity pamphlet for the Alpha course, which aims to turn turn run-of-the-mill people into happy, shiny Christians. It carries endorsements from Cliff Richard and Old Beardie the archbishop of Canterbury and some smooth chopped catholic and- oh my God- Hercule Poirot. Yes, folks, Hercule Poirot- I mean actor David Suchet- has had his life turned round by Alpha and has celebrated by shaving off the moustache.

I scan the pictures of happy shiny faces (so many, I had not thought death had undone so many) in search of black ones. On the second run-through I find my first example- miniscule- and then another- so tiny you almost need a magnifying glass.

Then I read Emmel- the glossy "magazine of Muslim lifestyle". After the white-bread wilderness of Alpha it is nice and warming to look at pictures of people with a bit of colour in their cheeks. Emmel is liberal. It has pieces about criticising Islam and how good it would be to have female Imams. I'm thinking of taking out a subscription.

Seriously.