The way I see it…”Conviction!” 0



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Steven Demetre Georgiou, remember him? Probably not!

I’m a huge fan. His hits just kept on coming the albums sold millions. One of my favourites was “Tea for the Tiller Man.”

Ahhh, now you’re remembering. Cat Stevens, that’s right the bearded hippy, folk singer that took the world by storm.

Then he just up and quit. Years later, Cat Stevens resurfaced as “Yusuf Islam”, acclaimed singer-songwriter, humanitarian and philanthropist.


Trouble was, he had become Muslim. Stevens’ decision to leave the music business, become a Muslim, and devote his life to humanitarian and educational causes is one that has often been greeted with a mixture of curiosity and confusion. Then, out of the blue he was back on the world stage, touring and thrilling thousands of fans worldwide. He looked every bit the Muslim, softly spoken and words well chosen, a humble man with a simple message. He toured Australia and New Zealand a couple of years back. Who really cared that this great singer had become a Muslim? We were more than happy to pay the ticket price to see him in concert and listen to his philosophy.

His concert was inspiring and uplifting, for many, it provided an insight into the way of Islam. We were more than tolerant and happy to sit for more than 2 hours, to listen, be entertained and even learn a thing or two.

Or have we?

I read daily of the conflict between cultures, the hatred that is building, the clashes and violence throughout the world that continues with regular monotony.

Sadly we have seen the terrible results of these barbarous and nefarious attacks. These attacks are extremely well planned and executed with precision. Right now we are witnessing an upsurgence in a number of European countries. I guess like most of us, I also question the attention that has been drawn to these latest attacks by the international media! (I remember listening to Enoch Powell’s so-called ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, which was delivered to a Conservative Association meeting in Birmingham on April 20 1968 & thinking this will never happen. How wrong could one be?)

Questions are being raised as to how we could let these things happen. I don’t have the answer, but what I know is this – it has happened, for whatever reason.

I pity the Muslims that just want to be able to practice their faith. After all, do they not have that right? Is Islam, not a religion? (The earliest fragment of the Old Testament in Arabic is a text of Psalm 77, found in the Umayyad Mosque, dating from the 8th century. The first Jewish translations of the Hebrew Bible, and the bible translations by Roman Catholic clergy date from c. AD 1000.) Many thanks to my researcher; Dr. Hanay Qulaq PhD. MPhil. (Middle Eastern Studies).

We as a society must learn tolerance. We must be accepting of others points of view, however detached from ours. We might not like what we are confronted with, but somewhere within, we must accept it. We must allow people their commitment to their own conviction. It is hard to forgive and forget, but over time, the scar fades!

We are just over a month away from the 15th anniversary of 9/11; those haunting pictures are etched firmly in our minds forever. Nearly fifteen years ago, terrorists attacked The United States of America taking innocent lives in New York City and in Washington, D.C. I’m pretty sure most of us will remember exactly where we were and what we were doing that fatal morning. The destruction, loss, anger and pain suffered by everyone in their own way, will never leave us. But, here’s the thing, we have become tolerant and this tragic event for most, over time, has become a memory. 9/11 will never ever go away, but we learn to live with it.

These days, we all seem to be at each other’s throats for one issue or another!

Is it because the enemy, however and whomever you see it as, wants us divided amongst ourselves. If only we could agree to disagree on some things and decide to agree that we are a nation of many different cultures, creeds and backgrounds.

We all have our own conviction, so if we could just focus on being unified as a country for us and for the world, we would see, a brighter future for generations to come. We live with the fact that Islam is here to stay, we might not like it, but somehow we tolerate it.

I have nothing but admiration for “Yusuf Islam,” aka “Cat Stevens.”

I will listen and no doubt I might just learn something!

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Brian Portland

Broadcast Journalist.. Australasian Correspondent FSN Washington & London. Speech Writer..Motivational Speaker.. Production Voice Specialist.. Creative Writer.. (Speech, Print, Radio & Television) Double above knee amputee.. Motivational Speaker..(Available for any speaking engagement..)

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