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9/11 and being a Welsh Muslim

As we mark twenty years since the 9/11 terror attacks: tragic events which changed the world, and continue to affect us today, Azim Ahmed explores the legacy of this event from the perspective of the Muslim community here in Wales.

Twenty years ago, British Muslims found themselves at the centre of extra scrutiny: there were questions about whether the politics of the hijackers were shared by Muslims here in Wales and whether the Twin Tower attacks were the beginning of an inevitable clash of civilisations between East and West.

There was also an increase in hostility and Islamophobia, as Muslims became a suspect community. We hear from members of the Muslim community who experienced this prejudice.

This crisis also led to positive change, with new initiatives, organisations, and an appetite for greater understanding between communities and religions. We hear how this inter-faith dialogue led to the foundation of the 'Wales Faith Communities Forum' which thrives today, and the foundation of the 'Muslim Council for Wales' to unify the faith community.

9/11 and the export of Western values

The shocking events of 9/11 took place 20 years ago this week, and this is the first of a number of BBC Radio Wales programmes marking the anniversary.

One of the responses to the ideology espoused by the 9/11 terrorists has been an attempt to export Western values, particularly those of democracy and human rights. But that’s just the latest episode in a long historical process: whether through the Cold War of the 20th century, or through the missionary activity of colonial nations in the 19th century and earlier, there’s been a belief that Western Judeo-Christian values and systems offer something uniquely important to the world – indeed that it’s a responsibility to share them.

So what do today’s peacekeepers and aid workers have in common with historical colonialists and missionaries? What’s been learned from past mistakes? And since the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, and President Biden’s declaration of an end to American nation-building, what’s left for the idea of Western values?

Roy Jenkins talks to

Colonel Richard Kemp: former commander of UK forces in Afghan
Dr John Wilsey: Associate Professor of Church History and Philosophy, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Prof Andrew May: Head of the History Program at the University of Melbourne
Dr Elaine Storkey: former chair of Tear Fund

Christian Marriage and Christian Cohabitation

According to government statistics, the number of people getting married is on the decrease. And of those couples who do decide to tie the knot, only 1 in 5 chooses to do so in a place of worship. Roy Jenkins looks at the state of Christian marriage in contemporary society, at a time when more and more couples simply cohabit, and there is no societal pressure to 'do the right thing'.

Sir James MacMillan

Acclaimed as one of the world's great living composers, Sir James MacMillan last appeared on All Things Considered when he was in Cardiff rehearsing for the premiere of a work he’d written for Welsh National Opera. Fourteen years later, his reputation has not diminished. His new work, 'When Soft Voices Die' was premiered in the opening night of the Proms last month. His percussion concerto 'Veni, Veni Emmanuel' has now had more than 500 performances around the world, and his 'Stabat Mater' was streamed from the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

And there’s a steady stream of work for orchestras, choirs and soloists heard extensively at international music festivals, including an annual event he launched in the former coalmining community of Cumnock in Ayrshire, where he was brought up. It was also there that his deep commitment to the Roman Catholic faith was nurtured.

Roy Jenkins interviews Sir James about his life, work and deep Catholic faith.

4 episodes