On yesterday’s programme I was struck by comments from our contributor John Bernard, the father of Joshua Bernard whose photograph sparked the outcry, talked about how people should identify themselves. He said the Marine ethos is allegiance to God, family, country, corps, in that order.
Listen to John Bernard
It chimed with some of the comment I’ve been reading about the conviction of three men yesterday in a British court over the transatlantic bomb plot.
Some commentators are saying the problem is the men were Muslim first, British second. This blogger goes so far as to say that this means that Western Muslims “can never be trusted”.
It’s an issue we’ve touched on before, but both yesterday’s show and this major terror case bring it to the fore again.
According to Britain’s secret service MI5, there are over 2,000 known terrorist suspects in the UK, with up to 200 terror networks in operation. The vast majority of those suspects are British-born Muslims.
Where should their allegiance lie? To their religion first, or to their country? If a Marine’s first loyalty is to God, then isn’t it just the same as a Muslim living outside an Islamic country who says her first loyalty is to her religion? Can you love your country more than your religion ?
Indian Bollywood actor Salman Khan made headlines over the weekend when he said, “Nationalism is my religion. We want responsible citizens who think about India first.”
He’s part of a growing campaign in India by the major television network Zee for Indians citizens to unite and put “India first”. But does India really need to ‘unite’ as Zee television says? Isn’t one of the beauties of pluralistic, modern nations that there is room for diversity of belief?
Where is your first allegiance ? – your religion, your country or something else?