Monday, 12 September 2011

The Roti

Nearer my God to seemed appropriate, given the date, to book myself on a tour up to the tower of the Roman Catholic cathedral, and stand at the highest point in the city to view the ground beneath our feet, and the sky above our heads. In the clear light of the early afternoon, we could see to the horizon in all directions, even picking out Happisburgh lighthouse, some twenty-odd miles away, as well as the vapour trail of a lonely plane that cut the sky in two.
Back on terra firma, and a too-short a look around the synagogue, which is just over the road from the cathedral, before heading off for a tour of the Mosque at the corner of Chapelfield Gardens. It was actually quite dispiriting; the place is run by converts to Islam, and I remembered that there'd been some squit between them and other sections of the local Islamic community, who had been forced to pray outdoors in the park opposite, before setting up another mosque nearby. At a question and answer session afterwards, I found some of the answers quite disturbing, and intellectually vacuous - 9/11 was mooted as a possible conspiracy against Islam - and I felt it didn't really show the religion in a very good light.

On the way home, we walked past the Roti, our local curry house, which is run by some Bangladeshis from Brick Lane, and they were having what they called a Curry Festival. Come on in, come on in, they shouted over to us, so we did. There was lots of singing, lots of dancing, lots of food, and everybody was having a good time. The Bangladeshi flag was flapping next to the Union Jack, and it felt as though they were happy to be here, and proud to be part of the local community.
And while I suspect they may not pass Norman Tebbitt's cricket test, I'm sure they're a lot more patriotic than Nick Griffin, and all the football hooligans and other nutters from the British National Party and the English Defence League, who purport to speak for the down-trodden white working-class.

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