Last year, I wondered why the Muslim world was producing so many suicide bombers. So I went on a course at St Albans to try to find out. I came to the conclusion that there were three particular Islamic beliefs that lay behind the phenomenon. Last month I looked at the first of these, the Islamic view of God.This month I look at the last two.
The legalistic nature of Islam
If salvation or eternal life comes from good works, it is very important to know what is a good work and what is not. In any society, this can only be determined by laws and therefore by lawyers. Muslim clerics are not pastors in the Christian sense, but interpreters of the law.
We all now know that Islam is not a single monolith. Like Christianity, it has different denominations. We are all aware from daily news bulletins that there is a major split in Islam between Sunni and Shia Muslims, even if we don’t quite know what the differences are. (They are more to do with history and religious practice than theology.) But even within the majority Sunni populations there are different interpretations of Islam. Given its legalistic nature, these are different schools of Islamic law.
There are four main schools, the Hanafi, the Maliki, the Shafii and the Hanbali. All of them started within 200 years of Mohammed’s death in 632. Some of the differences between them appear to us to be obscure. For example, the four schools give different numbers for the number of men that need to be present if Friday prayers are to be lawful. The Hanafi school says three, the Maliki twelve and the Safii and Hanbali schools say forty. In a religion of salvation by works, these differences matter. If you follow the Hanbali school and only thirty nine men turn up on a Friday, your prayers will not count in your final balance of judgement.
This is just one example of the legalistic nature of Islam and one example of the differences of interpretation. Of the four, the Hanbali school is perhaps the strictest. It is the school prevalent in Saudi Arabia, where an even more austere version has been developed, now known as the Wahabi school. This developed in the eighteenth century in order to try to return the Hanbali school to its roots. The Saudi royal family is now heavily dependent on the support of the Wahabis and therefore it uses its petro-dollars to push the Wahabi interpretation of Islam into the rest of the Muslim world. It is from this school of thought that the modern Islamist movement grew. This emphasises a rather different Muslim view of salvation, a view which the vast majority of Muslims would reject, but which nevertheless motivates the suicide bombers.
Instant Salvation Through Jihad
It is wrong to consider Osama Bin laden and his followers as a one off or a small grouping. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are only part of a much wider movement based upon one particular interpretation of Islam. But this movement emphasises the more warlike parts of Islam rather than the more peaceful. It interprets Jihad more as a struggle between the Islamic world and the rest than as struggle within the soul of the individual Muslim between right and wrong.
Within this interpretation, there is a more instant route to salvation than the lifetime’s struggle to achieve good works offered by mainstream Islam; death in the cause of Jihad. This is what motivated those who flew into the twin towers. It is what motivates those suicide bombers we hear about almost daily.
Conclusions – The Christian Response
This is a very superficial account of both Islam and of the motivations of suicide bombers. I would not want to set myself up as an expert on either. However, it is important to realise that the motivations of suicide bombers are more complex than we might at first think. A key element of their motivation stems from Islam, although it is not representative of Islam as a whole. 
Suicide bombing and terrorism, the deliberate taking of human life, the creation of as much chaos and misery are clearly wrong. They are a challenge both to the West and to Christians – the two are not the same. How do we respond?
The classic Western approach is based on the lure of material goods and the power of the military. There are limits to both responses, but they may have a role to play. It seems to me that such extreme Islamic beliefs flourish in areas where there is no stable government such as Afghanistan and now Iraq. They flourish in areas where there is despair for the future such as Palestine. Instant martyrdom and paradise must seem like a good alternative in places like this. 
Military might could allow some countries to build up a local political process which gives hope for the future for all the peoples concerned. Greater access to material goods can reduce despair. Together, they could reduce the breeding ground for Islamic fanatics. But neither will prevent those who already think this way from continuing to do so. In the modern world, a small number of dedicated fanatics can cause more chaos than ever before.
What is really needed is a change of heart and of mind; a growth of love towards our fellow human beings, not hatred. Such changes are not just required of Islamic fanatics, trapped in their narrow belief system, but also of non-Christian Westerners trapped in their material greed and refusal to consider the true meaning of life. Only through Jesus can such a change of heart and mind occur.
The Christian response is to try to understand the real powers that lie behind events, to pray for fellow human beings in all creeds and cultures who do not yet know the love of Christ and the freedom from the fear of death that such love brings and to work towards the spread of that love through our Christian work and giving.

Chris Barnes
Reader, St Andrew’s Woodside.
9 January 2004

There were five Sundays in February

How unusual is this? It will happen next in 2032, then 2060 and again in 2088. Then not for another forty years! So, less than once in a blue moon!
Does anyone know anymore amazing facts that our readers might like to read about?
Send them to the editor or David Kingston (addresses at the back of PN)


Slip End After-School Club requires

A qualified person

to run this club for
4 to 12 year old children

On Thursdays and Fridays 
from 3.30 to 6.00

in term time only.

Salary: £15 per session

Contact Sarah Ballard, 
Slip End After School Club,

Slip End Lower School, 
Rossway. Slip End,
Luton, LU1 4BB.

or phone Sarah on 01582 415124.


The Brownies organisation celebrates its 90th Birthday this year and celebrations have been planned in our Division.

Our “Stop Rabbiting” evening in aid of Macmillan Cancer Relief went very well. All the girls and their Guiders and helpers stayed silent for 30 minutes, with Viv Porter and Michael Plummer keeping an eye on us, ensuring our silence was complete! We are hoping to collect around £200 sponsorship for this – well done girls!
Gillian Plummer (Brown Owl)

Although quite chilly at times, February was quite dry and conditions were good to catch up on some winter digging and manuring. Things are moving on early this year and some of us have been out already picking sprouting broccoli, a superb vegetable, seldom seen in the shops these days.
Now is the time to plant out onion sets: some early potatoes can be put in, keeping an eye out for frost in the coming weeks when growth shows through and protecting with ash and light twigs to keep the birds off. Sow carrots, leeks and broad beans.
Flower Garden
Plant rose trees, making the ground firm around them. Trim the herbaceous border, pinching out week growth from perennials, stir and mulch the ground around them. March is the best time to plant bout the majority of herbaceous plants. 
Plant gladioli bulbs
Fruit Trees
Spray all fruit bearing trees with insecticide. Apple and pear stock that are well established and old trees that were cut back for reworking may be grafted now.
Strawberry runners should be laid out for sprouting ends to root: cut off runners that show no new leaf. Raspberries that fruit in late summer should now be cut down to 6 inches, leaving a couple of buds fresh shoots will grow in good time, canes planted in the autumn will not fruit until the following year.
Things are already topsy-turvy this time round and the sweet smell of mown grass was apparent in several localities around the villages – in February!
Open Gardens
Sign up for this popular local event which will be held on the first Saturday in July: call Valerie Church for details, 458443. 

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 15th February and we elected two new committee members, Barbara Sinclair and Josie Worsley. Members were happy to keep the rest of the committee on.
We are now planning our programme for the rest of this year, including our popular day trips in the spring and summer. And in March we will be celebrating our 39th Birthday.
Many thanks to all those who have supported us throughout the year: the Grace Cook Trust, Gillian and Shirley, 3 Father Christmas’s and the Harrow public house. They have been a great help with our costs, hall hire and outings throughout the year.
Viv Porter

Yes please - Roll on the spring and summer

In aid of Keech Cottage & Pasque Hospice
Wednesday April ? (check next month)
At the Village Hall
Please come along and give your support

The Slip End and District Association are in the process of sorting out where to go for the Senior Citizens day out on June 5th. Hopefully our plans will be in place, ready for you to sign up at the Car Boot Sale which we are holding on Easter Monday.
Don’t forget our weekly Bingo sessions, 8.15 in the Village Hall on Thursdays.
Gillian Plummer


John and Tony go into a pub, whooping and screaming. “Drinks for everyone! We’re buying!” they shout. “What’s the occasion?” asks the barman as he pours the drinks. “We’ve just finished a jigsaw puzzle and it only took us seven months,” Tony replies. “Seven months?” says the barman. “It shouldn’t take you seven months to do a puzzle.” “Oh really?” John answered defensively. “On the box it said ‘two to four years’!”

BOB GOODMAN 1922 – 2004

Born in Slip End in 1922, Bob attended the local school, leaving at 14 years old to start work at the Co-op Dairy in Luton. He worked there for 51 years, working seven days a week getting up at 4.30, never having Christmas off. He started with a barrow, then a van, then an electric float to deliver the milk in Farley Hill, Caddington and the Slip End district. Bob was always cheerful; he once said that the things he enjoyed most about his job was being his own boss and being in the open air. If any customers on his round were ill, he would do shopping for them and his customers nominated him as “Milkman of the Year” an award he richly deserved and won. In his spare time, Harold enjoyed gardening and fishing.
Harold and wife Betty were married at St Andrew’s 55 years ago, and he leaves a son, Philip.

Music by live groups. 
March 13th
April 3rd
May 8th
October 2nd
October 30th
November 20th
December 4th 
Contact Shirley 01582 4I2 506

March 6th
June 12th
September 18th
November 28th
For a stall call Gillian on 01582 723109.

Proceeds go to Local Charities (Please note: this is not connected with the Brownies.)


Saturday 20th March at 10.30a.m. – Flowers for Mothers Day – We shall be making the posies. Meet at the Church.
Saturday 1st May – Return visit to Kew
The London Walk is on Saturday 24th April this year.
The members of St Andrew’s MU extend a warm welcome to anyone who would like to come and join our meetings. Please contact Mary Barker on 738435. 
Mary Barker


After being nearly snowbound for two weeks last winter, a Seattle man departed for his vacation in Miami Beach, where he was to meet his wife the next day at the conclusion of her business trip to Minneapolis. They were looking forward to pleasant weather and a nice time together. Unfortunately, there was some sort of mix up at the boarding gate, and the man was told he would have to wait for a later flight. He tried to appeal to a supervisor but was told the airline was not responsible for the problem and it would do no good to complain. Upon arrival at the hotel the next day, he discovered that Miami Beach was having a heat wave, and its weather was almost as uncomfortably hot as Seattle's was cold. The desk clerk gave him a message that his wife would arrive as planned. He could hardly wait to get to the pool area to cool off, and quickly sent his wife an e-mail, but due to his haste, he made an error in the e-mail address. His message therefore arrived at the home of an elderly preacher's wife whose even older husband had died only the day before. When the grieving widow opened her e-mail, she took one look at the monitor, let out an anguished scream, and fell to the floor dead. Her family rushed to her room where they saw this message on the screen:

Dearest wife, 
Departed yesterday as you know. Just now got checked in. Some confusion at the gate. Appeal was denied. Received confirmation of your arrival tomorrow. Your loving husband. P.S. Things are not as we thought. You're going to be surprised at how hot it is down here.......

Not a lot of space left for me this month but a nice full issue of Parish News which is great. With Spring hopefully just around the corner I’ve found an old favourite poem about it. 
The Daffodils

I wander’d lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vale and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretch’d in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:-
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company!
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant and in pensive mood
They flash upon that inward eye 
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
By William Wordsworth.

(and with an extra day in February)
An extra day

When it is a Leap Year –
Time doles out an extra day.
Four and twenty precious hours
are gained for work and play…
As the first sweet songs of love
amongst the birds are chanted – 
A gift is given to this month;
another dawn is granted

by Patience Strong 

Slip End Playgroup Nearly New Sale
Saturday 20th March at Slip End Village Hall
2pm to 3:30pm

A mother has the special gift
of always speaking true.
A mother gets the praise or blame
if skies be dark or blue.
A mother is a doctor,
a joiner and a vet,
The jobs a mother cannot do, have not been heard of yet.
A mother is a power all wise,
a tyrant or a saint,
an oracle, a paragon,
with smart ideas or quaint.
Whatever else she may be,
a mother knows full well,
a house can never be a home
without her magic spell.
Don’t forget its Mothering Sunday on March 20th and here’s a couple of babies who will no doubt bring a smile or two to their new mums. 

Congratulations to Helen who is Callum’s mum and the daughter of Jill Acton.

Congratulations to Helen who is Rosie’s mum and the daughter of Sue Lyons.





Why not come along and celebrate Easter at St Andrew’s Church.

If you would like to choose a hymn to be sung at the Songs of Praise service please give Liz Higgens the details so she can sort out the music for you as there may be several versions. Just complete the request form at the back of  PN and post it to 25 St Andrews Close, Slip End or contact Liz on 413108

Everyone is invited and it is a glorious way to celebrate Easter.


If you would be prepared to ‘open your garden’ on Saturday, 3rd July, 2004, and/or enter the hanging basket competition, please complete the form below and return as soon as possible to: Valerie Church, The Old Bakery, 2 Summer Street, Slip End, or e-mail to 
I would be prepared to open my garden on 3rd July, 2004 q
I would like to enter the hanging 
basket competition q
I need more information q


Tel No.

Choice of Hymn……………………





Telephone number
e-mail address 


Our pages are also published on,  reaching a far wider community than our local area. If you have not been on line yet, take a look; as well as local news there are bulletin boards, forums, pictures and more, all of local interest.
Articles for the April issue of Parish News should be passed,
by 15th March or earlier please, to David Kingston 
and Sue Cowell  
Parish News distribution queries? 
Please contact Brian Church on 01 582 458443

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Parish News reserves editorial rights.

A big thank you to our printers: Hardy Clarke Creative Ltd of Park Street, Luton. Tel: 749991.  
Village Diary