I’m ineloquent according to myself. My reviews are shallow and my grammar appalling, but today I’m also at a loss for words. I have been feeling stunned since I heard about the horrific attack on a soldier in Woolwich on Wednesday. I felt physically sick that anyone regardless of colour, race, gender, religion or political beliefs could be attacked this way in broad daylight in the UK.

My heart goes out to the family of Lee Rigsby, his death was a needless waste of a young and promising life, his murder committed by deluded individuals with no morals or respect for the sanctity of life. I cannot adequately describe my disgust at such an act or any act that claims to be for Islam when it involves horrific violence and loss of life. This attack was both cowardly and beyond redemption. I pray that the individuals concerned are rooted out. I feel for the people who were around at the time and can only imagine what they are going through. How do you recover from such an ordeal?

I woke this morning thinking of the hymn, “I vow to thee my country.” It’s been one of my favourite hymns since I was 8. I felt great pride in singing this hymn in assemblies at school at various times between 1982-1990. Im not ashamed to say as an adolescent this hymn often lead me to tears. I don’t think there are stronger words I could use to describe my pride in being British and calling the UK my home. It’s the only home I have known and I am proud my country gives me protection, security and choices. I am free to practise Islam here. I value life and I stand by everyone who has been touched by the loss of life here.

As a UK citizen I will not support any faction that resorts to these tactics. To the extremists I say your mission will fail because you’ve lost the respect for life, the world and everything in it, which are ironically God’s creation. No God I know, worship or understand would sanction your actions. Your atrocities unite the majority of us to oppose your oppression. You will never win.

I vow to thee, my country
All earthly things above
Entire and whole and perfect
The service of my love

The love that asks no questions
The love that stands the test
That lays upon the alter
The dearst and the best

The love that never falters
The love that pays the price
The love that makes undaunted
The final sacrifice

And there’s another country
I’ve heard of long ago
Most dear to them that love her
Most great to them I know

We may not count her armies
We may not see her King
Her fortress is a faithful heart
Her pride is suffering

And soul by soul and silently
Her shining bounds increase
And her ways are ways of gentleness
And all her paths are peace

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