Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A happy outcome for Sidhak Singh Arora and his family

On 25 July, 2017 this blog carried a post regarding a Sikh child being refused enrolment in a Christian school because the traditional headcap the child wore did not conform with the school's dress code.

Readers of Beside The Creek will be pleased to know that the matter has now been resolved in favour of the child and his family.

A Christian school unlawfully discriminated against a five-year-old boy when it banned him from wearing a traditional Sikh patka, a child's version of a turban, a tribunal has ruled.
In a win for Melbourne father Sagardeep Singh Arora and his son Sidhak, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled that Melton Christian School breached the Equal Opportunity Act.

The decision, which was handed down on Tuesday, could have implications for the way schools set their uniform policies.
It also paves the way for Sidhak to attend the school of his choice.

Mr Arora had hoped that his son would start prep at school this year, but the enrolment hit a roadblock when principal David Gleeson said Sidhak would have to comply with the school's uniform policy. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Hildegard of Bingen - Doctor of the Universal Church

Hildegard of Bingen has been a favourite of The Editor's for a  very long time.
The Editor is indebted to The Reverend Dr Malcolm Guite for this contribution from his blog.

Hildegard of Bingen: A Sonnet

by malcolmguite
Tending the tree of Life by Hildegard of Bingen
Tending the tree of Life by Hildegard of Bingen
The 17th of September is the feast day of Abbess Hildegard of Bingen, a remarkable and prophetic woman, who described herself as 'a feather on the breath of God', and whose many works in theology, music, visual art, poetry and drama are still inspiring people today. Indeed she is coming more and more into her own, as one of her key ideas 'Viriditas', or the greening and life-renewing work of the Holy Spirit, seems especially apposite for our time. See this page on her by a contemporary Benedictine. Appropriately for Hildegard's day, I will be taking part in a service at Ely Cathedral this evening at 6:30pm called Dark Reflections: Poetry Environment and Lament
Do come along if you can.
The photo below is by Margot Krebs Neale
I wrote this sonnet at Launde Abbey in Leicestershire where I shall be giving an Advent retreat next year. It is published in my new volume of poetry The Singing BowlCanterbury Press,  available on Amazon in both the US and the UK
As always you can hear the sonnet by clicking on the play button or the title.
Hildegard of Bingen
A feather on the breath of God at play,
You saw the play of God in all creation.
You drew eternal light into each day,
And every living breath was inspiration.
You made a play with every virtue playing,
Made music for each sister-soul to sing,
Listened for what each herb and stone was saying,
And heard the Word of God in everything.

Mother from mother earth and Magistra, 
Your song revealed God's hidden gift to us;
The verdant fire, his holy harbinger
The greening glory of viriditas.
'Cherish this earth that keeps us all alive'
Either we hear you, or we don't survive.

Photo by Margot Krebs Neale
Photo by Margot Krebs Neale

Friday, 15 September 2017

Sikhs to the aid of the Muslim Rohingyas fleeing the Buddhists of Burma

Please note:
The Sikhs themselves know what it is to feel for one's life.
They were forced to flee India after partition in 1947.

Sikh volunteers say they have begun handing out food and water to Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Burma.
The Khalsa Aid charity said volunteers from its India arm were "working in tough conditions on the border areas" in Bangladesh to provide aid.
The group, which is registered within the UK, had reportedly reached the village of Teknaf in the Cox's Bazar area, which has become a crossing point for tens of thousands of Rohingya.
Dozens of Rohingya villages now lie empty after their residents fled violence in Rakhine state, according to Burma's government. One hundred and seventy-six of 471 villages were abandoned, spokesman Zaw Htay said.
Amarpreet Singh, managing director of Khalsa Aid India, told The Indian Express: "We had come prepared for providing relief to some 50,000 people, but there are more than three lakh [300,000] refugees here. They are living without water, food, clothes and shelter. They are sitting wherever they can find a corner."
Refugee camps had become overcrowded, he added.
Rohingya Muslims face widespread persecution in Buddhist-majority Burma, where the recent violence has driven hundreds of thousands to seek refuge overseas.
Zaw Htay did not use the name Rohingya. Members of the ethnic group are commonly referred to as "Bengalis" by many in Burma who insist they migrated illegally from Bangladesh.

He also said Burma would not allow all people who fled to return. He said: "We have to verify them. We can only accept them after they are verified."
The government blames the Rohingya for the violence, but journalists who visited the region found evidence that raises doubts about its claims that Rohingya set fire to their own homes. 
Many of the Rohingya who flooded into refugee camps in Bangladesh told of Burmese soldiers shooting indiscriminately, burning their homes and warning them to leave or die. Others said they were attacked by Buddhist mobs.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Religion and Food: Dutch-British Transnational, Unilever, upsets Hindus

From Inside FMCG

Unilever upsets Hindus


Hindus are seeking an official apology from Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman for the non-disclosure of beef in some of its products and an immediate product recall.
Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, said in a statement yesterday it was shocking for Hindus to learn that some of the Unilever food products, which they had been eating for years, might contain beef. He said it was not explicitly mentioned under the ingredients listed on the boxes or packages.
“Gelatin is made from animal protein. It is used in some of our products to provide a lower fat, lower calorie product with a pleasing texture and consistency. The protein of animal origin is processed according to high standards of purity. It is so highly refined, that it is no longer considered a meat product by the US Department of Agriculture. We cannot guarantee if the gelatin is derived from beef or pork,” according to Zed.
He has pointed out that the consumption of beef is highly conflicting to Hinduism. Cow is considered sacred and has long been venerated in their religion. The statement said it was a very serious issue for the devotees and is deemed offensive when they would come to know that they were unknowingly eating beef-laced food products.
“We’ve developed a clear and global approach to nutrition labelling, to help people make healthy food choices,” stated Zed.
He said it was difficult to comprehend why Unilever did not mention beef explicitly under the ingredients on the box or packaging when it was part of the product inside. Unilever brands include Knorr, Hellmann’s, Magnum, Blue Band, Becel/Flora and Best Foods. It includes also a product bearing the same name as Hindu deity “Rama”, which sells margarine, cheese, cooking fats and cream alternatives.

Monday, 4 September 2017

GAZA : Under siege from Israel --- but still working towards normalcy and improvement in life

We all think this is insane, it has to be stopped. The people are not anybody's card to use in political games.
The electricity in Gaza is everything in this situation. It's the air we breathe and the water we drink, and the beach we go to. No electricity means no air, no water, and no where to go when life turns an ugly face on you.
I promise myself every day that this will get better tomorrow. But it just keeps getting worse and worse with every day.


Empower Gazans Lives .
People in Gaza have been living under of unjust siege for more than ten years .
Electricity crisis is a major one in  Gaza Strip where power failure rate is up from 8 to 12 hours a day .
Allah has given us one of the brightest places in the world and I was always thinking why not taking an advantage of this brightness as an alternative energy. So I decided to start this Project as a solution of Electricity in Gaza .

Over the past years, I have succeeded in installing LED lights to hundreds of homes Here in Gaza. Through this first experiment in solar energy installation that I will Provide; The Solar panels, we will distribute the electricity lines so that we can alleviate the suffering of electricity which is OFF All the time. By such a project, the solar energy will be an alternative for good.

Walid Mahmoud is a Palestinian and humanitarian activist who is working in the humanitarian and relief field to help the Palestinian community. He has a lot of development and relief projects to empower Gazan people. One of these Small Projects is  "alternative energy" to help People overcome the electricity crisis. The LED projects are good examples for such a charity.

Electricity is one of the most important necessities in human life. No one can continue living without electricity. The consequences of power failure in Gaza Strip has caused a lot of problems in all areas of life here.

The Details :
Solar Energy Project, is a project made to use the sun's energy to produce electricity at home. Through this project, 3 homes will be targeted at 100% which will come with the amazing results of the reality of life for these families.
These three houses will dispense the industrial electricity 100%  The families will be able to run electrical appliances As "  washingmachines, refrigerator, water heater, fan, television ... etc "
The cost of solar panels in one home is 2.600 Euro . 
The fund will go for purchasing the solar panels, wires, batteries, power adapters and chargers, and power supply which will be used to produce Electricity from the sun .
 Last April, a  first experiment succeeded in installing solar panels for three houses in  Gaza Strip, and now we re-experiment it because I have received dozens of calls asking for the project. 
To achieve this project and make it successful, to help all children to see and do their homework, to play at night with other children of the same age. Let's help them and make smiles on their faces. Children must be saved from the siege. Thus, I need your financial support or spread this Link with your Friends, Family and others on Social Media.

All special documents will be sent to you via e-mail or via the updates .
More Details At :
Contact ’Me At :

Sunday, 3 September 2017

PHILOXENIA - showing friendship to a stranger

If there is one Greek word that everyone should know is this word – “philoxenia” ¬¬¬ literally translated as “friend to the stranger” but a lot deeper than that. 

In ancient Greece hospitality was a value ranking high on the list of virtues – there was great respect and honor bestowed from host to guest.  There were ancient inns and boarding houses but they were considered lowly.  Most people had an organic network of contacts around Greece where a friend of a friend of a friend would show up at your doorstep and the host was dutifully bound to offer hospitality, food, drink and a bath before even any questions were asked to ensure the guest(s) were totally comfortable. The guest too was bound to be courteous, polite and not be burdensome to the host.  

Homer’s Illiad and the Bible describe “philoxenia” – and the Trojan war was a result of an abuse and transgression of the bounds of philoxenia when the guest of Sparta’s King Menelaus abducted his wife Helen – a transgression that had to be avenged since the violation was an affront to the gods – hence the derogatory term we ascribe to strangers and foreigners we fear - “Xeni”  –  a result of being double-crossed. 

Philoxenia today can be as simple as a smile, helping a stranded motorist, buying a meal for a homeless person or opening your home to friends and family.  Philoxenia is a value that needs to be practiced in the home, at work, and is sadly missing in some of the most important places where it should be practiced – in our government. 

“Let brotherly love continue.  Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”  Hebrews 13:1-1

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Eid Mubarak : Have a blessed holiday



What does Eid Mubarak mean? Muslim greeting used during Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr festivals

It is a holy time of sacrifice and generosity to friends, family and the needy

Millions of Muslims are celebrating Eid as they take part in the "festival of the sacrifice".
You may have heard some people using the phrase: "Eid Mubarak", but what does the greeting mean? Here's what you need to know...

 Children greet each other after offering Eid al-Fitr prayers which mark the end of Ramadan in Mumbai, India
Children greet each other after offering Eid al-Fitr prayers which mark the end of Ramadan in Mumbai, India

What does Eid Mubarak mean?

Eid Mubarak is a traditional Muslim greeting reserved for the holy festivals of Eid al-Fitrand Eid al-Adha.
"Eid" means "celebration" and "mubarak" means "blessed".
The saying can be translated as "have a blessed holiday".

When is Eid?

The celebration of Eid al-Adha has begun - a holy time of sacrifice and generosity to friends, family and the needy.
Eid-al-Fitr followed a month of fasting for Ramadan in June.
Eid celebrations continue for different lengths of time in different cultures.

 Two met hug in Baghdad, Iraq, on the first day of Eid al-Fitr
Two met hug in Baghdad, Iraq, on the first day of Eid al-Fitr

In Qatar, for example, they celebrate for 11 days. While Oman enjoys a nine-day party.
In the Islamic lunar calendar, Eid al-Adha takes place on the 10th day of the 12th month and lasts for four days until the 13th day.
The current Eid celebration started on September 1, and will end in the evening of Tuesday, September 5.
Muslims begin their celebrations with morning prayers, followed by food and exchanging of gifts with family and friends.
They also share their food and money with the poor so that they can celebrate too.

Tens of thousands of Muslims gather in Birmingham park

Stoning the devil : Hajj 2017

In the last major ritual of Hajj 2017, pilgrims perform the Stoning The Devil ritual.

Please go here for some marvellous videos.


As usual, this email is sent "blind copied" to a number of people who have at some time expressed interest in DIN.  This time we have two important requests;

First, we have a special speaker at our next meeting on Monday 11th September at 7:30pm, at the Quaker (Society of Friends) Meeting House.
Jay Lakhani studied theoretical physics and more recently has spoken and broadcast widely about science, "spiritual humanism", and his Hindu perspective.  I am attaching to this email a poster (use the JPG or PNG file formats) advertising what we hope will be a "question and answer" very interesting session.  (One question might well be, what does he mean by spiritual humanism). We would be grateful if you could arrange to display this poster in any local meeting places or schools, colleges that you think appropriate. If you cannot print the poster (in colour), reply to me with your postal address and I hope to post to you A4 sized versions on card.

N. B., a vital request.  We have already given notice of our Inter Faith Week event on Sunday 19th November 12:00 noon at Adeyfield Community Centre.   As part of that event, we want to have stalls (generally on tables) representing as many as possible of the many Faith groups existing in the Dacorum area.  You may remember the public Interfaith event we had in November 2014, with many stalls, with a variety of literature, leaflets, posters, history, symbols and artefacts.  This year we will not be having public speeches about the individual faiths, but the stalls we hope will encourage face to face discussion, with interest to members of the public attending.  The purpose is not to proselytise, but increase mutual understanding. Could you please consider yourself organising, or asking leaders in your faith group, getting volunteers together to provide the material and if possible staff the stall.

I would be very grateful for quick interim responses, not necessarily committing yourself to anything, but registering possible interest, or stating that you have passed the request on to others.  If there are several offers from different parts of the same faith group, I will try to facilitate liaison between them, avoiding obvious duplication but encouraging individuality and diversity wherever that seems appropriate.
Norman Spink - on behalf of DIN