I returned from holiday this Sunday to find your invitation.
I thank you for it and I would have made an attempt to attend. I live near Southend. I hope you had a harmonious meeting. I am not sure how much I could have contributed since I am non religious and find the idea of a diety preposterous but just sitting and talking in the same room brings people closer. However I smile indulgently when the children sing Christmas carols so I suppose I am a cultural Christian, in the same way I suspect that many Muslims are cultural Muslims who respect Islamic ethics but are not convinced about a divinity. I find it very sad that you seem to have no Islamic religious music since I believe music communicates where words sometimes fail. Someone in the Salvation army once said "Why should the Devil have all the good tunes?". I realise that many Muslims believe the war is against Islam but if Afghanistan had been Fundamentalist Shinto or Hindu I suspect the reaction in America would have been the same. This being Remembrance Sunday I am reminded that we fought Germany and Italy which are Christian countries whose extremist madness brought about the last world war and that extremist Shinto influenced Japan. Shinto is mainly to do with harmony with nature but it was used by extremists.
I believe the enemy is extremism, whether in religion or in politics and it is this that must be fought. It is also noticeable that religions only really flourish freely in those countries that separate religion from state and education. I believe this is because this arrangement reduces extremism. Extremists and terrorists are evil and use religions and causes as a hook to hang their extremism on. They do not really believe in the cause, only in extremism. As for the Taliban, I think that if you need to fight all the time, walk about with a gun and wear a long beard and dominate and beat women to reinforce your manhood then you have a psychological problem.
I believe Bin Laden has now admitted responsibility for the U.S. attacks but I would have like to have seen more attempt at political pressure to resolve this and a massive aid programme might have shamed and exposed the Taliban. Let us hope that peace comes soon.