Tomorrow I fly to Heathrow for a month’s vacation. I’ll be back in Abu Dhabi on the 1st July. Between now and then:
- My sister is flying in from Vancouver, where she now lives, to spend a week with me at my place in Highgate
- I have tickets booked to see:
- (With my sister) RainForest by Rambert Dance Company at the Barbican
- (By myself) Othello at the National Theatre
- (By myself) A Mad World My Masters at the RSC in Stratford
- I shall be going to North Wales to visit friends I first met here in The Gulf
I’m really looking forward to it. And yet, I know I’ll miss The Gulf. There’s a politeness here that you don’t get any longer in Britain. Perhaps, if I went all the way home to Ontario, I might find it there—but Canada seems a long time ago and a long way away to me now.
When I talk about Akhlaq, people in the West are surprised, because what the West knows of Islam is distorted by biased reporting and film of faces distorted by rage and grief when someone close to them is killed. If I say that the commonest face of Islam is one of courtesy, people look at me in disbelief. And yet, so it is.
Muhammed said that religion is Akhlaq, and that Akhlaq is good conduct and morality. That not to be angry is Akhlaq. And, for people who live here, courtesy, good conduct and morality are what one encounters. I shall miss it when I’m not here. I shall be glad when I return.