Ishmahil asked me to do the Q and A with Mousah Brown and himself at Riverside Studios so I thought I'd try my newly fixed bike for a night ride. Right. Crawling down the Kings Rd it completely cut out in the middle of the road. The traffic was moving so slowly I didn't bother anyone so once I got it started again I left it running for a bit with the lights off to charge the battery.
I tried a few roads to find The Riverside and ended up having to wheel the bike down a cycle lane. Anyway this is dangerously turning into a bike blog isn't it. My bike blog thankfully has a home of its own now so I'll shut up.
I watched the film for the third time now with a mixture of nerves about answering questions afterwards and nerves about trying to get my bike home. Stomping to the front with my bike boots I was glad Mousah and Ishmahil were there. After the first few questions I thought I was going to get away without saying anything, but someone who later turned out to work for the Islam channel asked me if the guys at Finsbury thought I was a spy.
I thought Mousah answered some of the audience's worries about radical Islam really well and I also got to hear a lot more about Ishmahil's past which I would like to ask him more about. Afterwards I hung around with the guy from the Islam channel and his wife and a few of the Rice and Peas crew. It was the first time I have spoken to a woman wearing a veil. Quite a strange experience as I had just watched a film which covered the topic.
My motorised pessimism was extinguished as my bike came to life with a roar, but it soon turned into a splutter as I headed down through Putney and got totally lost. It seemed to sort itself when I realised where I was again around Brixton. I thought it was quite a successful night and I got home without having to ring the breakdown service. Anyway I am off armed with DVD to see what Hajj and the guys think of the film- and if he is annoyed about appearing in it!
Well Hajj, who is going on to Hajj (to Mecca) in a few weeks liked it, the others thought that if Muslims are going to speak on film they should only talk referring to Koran and Sunnah and that they shouldn't give their opinions. I ended up in quite a long debate, the same debate as usual. We all agree about problems with the financial system and those few controlling it, and about the gross injustices in the world but there is no way we are going to unite as a majority and do something about it, which is why I have fairly much given up film making or any sort of optimism.
I'm glad Hajj liked the film anyway. That meant a lot to me. The only thing he critisized was one of the girls in the film coming out with the stuff about evil Jihadi recruiters convincing wayward and ignorant Muslims to become suicide bombers. I must admit I thought that was a bit weird too as none of the 7/7 guys fitted this description. They seemed to know exactly what they were doing.
Hajj himself was indirectly accused of "brainwashing kids" by some MI-5 guys who visited a friend of his at his work place recently. They gave the guy the message to pass on as an aside as they were leaving. He is a bit worried about going on Hajj as he has been warned there are thieves who prey on the visitors but he is confident Allah has already written down what is going to happen to him.
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