Bridges and Bigots in London


I went for a meal at a Bengali restaurant on Butler’s Wharf alongside the Thames on Saturday night, for a friend’s wedding. His mum is Turkish, dad Bengali and wife Irish, so quite a mix there. The meal itself was fabulous, just my kind of hot curried dishes coming fast and furiously. I don’t like sitting and sitting between courses.

The religious ceremony prior to the civil follow-up in Dublin was conducted by an Imam from Egypt, and it was he who unwittingly caused the waiters to be in such a hurry, enabling me to get out quick to catch my tube back up to North London before the muggers started coming out in force.


He started off well, about what Muslims believe and all that, but then he started to ramble on and on. Even the father of the groom sitting opposite me started making surreptitious cutting gestures across his throat and glancing at his watch as the minutes dragged along. The place was due to close at eleven and the food hadn’t been served yet.

What really annoyed me however was that half the guests were from Dublin. Not because of that per se, I hasten to add, but because of how this gentleman started to rant about Jesus not being the son of God because ‘God can’t have children like you and me’ and how Jesus was just a prophet like Abraham and the rest of them. He also lectured the bride sitting next to him on the importance of virginity and not drinking any alcohol at all, obeying her new husband in all things and bringing up any children as good Muslims.


There was a distinctly uneasy feeling developing amongst some of the guests, many of whom were Catholics, although they listened courteously enough. I just though how such a speech on behalf of Christianity would have gone down somewhere like Islamabad or Tehran. A long prison sentence or off with his head? It cuts both ways, I think, and he should have shown some basic awareness concerning the sensibilities of others who may hold different views.


Anyway, anyway… I took a few photos of Tower Bridge by night, which made up for dinner with an insensitive bigot.

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