The story starts worrying and on the grain: Akbar Ahmed – Islamic scholar and former High Commissioner of Pakistan in the UK – is in a parking garage in Athens in 2013 along with a Muslim faith community. Greece is sinking into gravel economically, politically, socially. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of refugees have arrived in record time, and hundreds more thousands are on the way.
In this despairing context, Akbar Ahmed speculates on how to deliver a sermon that can deliver hope without sounding false – all the while becoming increasingly claustrophobic by the sweaty, dark basement that serves as the gathering place of the faith community.
A real mosque, according to Ahmed, is not available to Muslims in Greece, despite the fact that several in the basement assembly have been in the country most of their lives, and despite Europe being home to Muslims for many centuries. Several members of the faith community can also report threats and violence from neo-Nazis, living in constant fear.
“I could feel my own uneasiness over the anger and desperation that pervaded the assembly and that indicated a lurking threat. These men had nothing. . .