Reading: CV for Sajid Javid

Mr Javid is currently a member of David Cameron’s cabinet
as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for
Equalities.  He has also been Economic
Secretary and Financial Secretary to the Treasury.  He has been member of Parliament for
Bromsgrove since 2010.  Before that he
worked for Chase Manhattan Bank in New York and Deutsche Bank in London.  Mr Javid was born in Rochdale to Pakistani
parents and educated at a State School in Bristol.


Many of you were not alive in 2001 when the twin towers
in New York were hit by two passenger airliners hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists.  It was a catastrophic event, as I guess you
all know, and resulted in the tragic death of almost 3000 American civilians.  It is commonly held to be one of those moments
which changed the course of history; until that point, the average person
living in the West had not felt under particular threat from terrorists and an
attack on this scale in peacetime was totally unprecedented.  However, the reaction of the Americans at the
time was arguably just as catastrophic, when within a week or so they were
bombing almost indiscriminately large areas of civilian populated Afghanistan
in a frenzied desire to find and punish the perpetrators – an understandable,
but totally irrational response which smacked of revenge on a whole people when
in reality a small group of appalling individuals were to blame.  One could argue that it showed a similar
disregard for innocent human life and, when coupled with a subsequent invasion
of Iraq on highly questionable grounds, one can perhaps understand why there
are some who do not see the West with quite such rose-tinted glasses as we do

However, the western and indeed the world response to the
Paris tragedy so far has been something of which we can all be proud.  There will no doubt be plenty of soul
searching as to just how far one might take freedom of speech – speech can be
extremely hurtful: should that hurt be allowed to go completely unchecked? –
but whatever the answer, the barbaric butchering of its deliverers is an
abomination that no civilised people should accept.  Whilst our leaders will need to find a way to
bring down such extremism, the mass response to it must be a peaceful one.  It is one of life’s truisms that great
tragedy brings people together and to see the whole of France, and then the
World, come together to denounce the terrorists was proof that sometimes some good
can come out of even the most awful harm. 
To see, in particular, the photos of a young Muslim man handing a white
rose to a young Jew as a symbol of friendship and peace, reminded us all that
the vast majority of people are capable of friendships across all sorts of
religious and cultural divides; and reminded us too that there is a basic
humanity which ties almost all of us together on this planet.

Where does the World go from here?  I thought the answer was far easier in 2001,
when underground surveillance and covert operations on a new level was surely
the way forward to deal with what then seemed to be a fledgling organisation,
rather than bombing a whole country. 
Now, the World seems to be in a far more parlous state.  At our level, ie in the streets and away from
the corridors of power, I think the answer is easy – we must make a concerted
effort to pull together as people in the same way that we have seen in the past
few days in Paris, and to reach for our common humanity, no matter what our religious
or cultural backgrounds.  We then need leaders.  Seeing Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the
Palestinian Liberation Authority, attending the Paris rally alongside Benjamin
Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, surely gives cause for some hope and one
sincerely hopes that it was not simply, as some have seen it, political
posturing.  In our own country, maybe
Sajid Javed, whose biography you just heard, might be someone worth listening
to.  A Cabinet minister, who happens to
be a Muslim born to Pakistani immigrants, married to a Christian, with great
supporters amongst Jews too, can only be a good thing.  Do seek out the odd article of his.  In the Times on Saturday, he offered a very
balanced and interesting perspective. It is well worth remembering that
ordinary Muslims are suffering at the hands of the extremists far more than any
other religious group – witness the schoolchildren in Peshawar, the civilians
in Syria, the girls in Nigeria, and even one of the French police officers over
the weekend – and that they deserve love and compassion.  It is the minority
of extremists who are prepared to commit such appalling atrocities with whom we
have to deal. 


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