On Wordpress, Julie writes the blog for Humphrey Fisher. Humphrey Fisher was born in New Zealand and lives in the Welsh borders. His interests and career span the near East, West Africa, the history of Islamic West Africa, slavery, Islam and Christianity. He was born in New Zealand, moved to Britain aged 4 and sent to Canada aged 6 for safety during the 2nd World War, spent teenage years at a Quaker school in America, returned to UK for studies and then spent many years travelling and working with his young family in Palestine, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Ghana, documenting his travels in diary, His strong interest in primary sources led to diary, tape and slide recording of his travels and field trips, together with translations from the German of imprtant documents from the 19th centry subn-Saharan traveller Nachtigal, and critical anaylisis of ancien Islamic sources in his academic work. He has contined the journal habit during his 20-year Welsh retirement, and founded a pilgrimage based on local churches mentioned in another 19th Century diarist, Kilvert.
His wife Helga's war experience differs greatly from Humphrey's, as she returned agen 8 from Peru to Germany during the height of the U-boat war, and her experiences, together with slides of their family travels, also feature in this site.
Humphrey died on Monday 22nd May 2019. He was peaceful for several hours beforehand, after a short infection, and surrounded by family. He had recently moved to a nursing home in Leominster, following a fall at home, and a stay in hospital with an infection which left him unable to walk. He had learnt to walk again whilst in the home, with help from the careful attendants.
Despite his dementia, several things remained for Humphrey:
love of music
desire to help people, especially refugees
curiosity about new people
The thing that made him smile most at the end was live music, whether trumpet, melodeon, piano or dancing from his grandchildren. Almost all of them were able to see him for a family gathering over Easter, from Wales, Germany, Scotland, England and Denmark.
His funeral is tomorrow, and tributes have been pouring in from students, colleagues and friends, which will be lovely to share with those family members, friends and devoted carers who only knew him in later years.
Meanwhile, his first Great-grandchild, Grace, is due to make her appearance today or tomorrow, a fact which her nearly-great grandfather would have found rather moving.
WHAT BINDS JEWS, CHRISTIANS, AND MUSLIMS TOGETHER IN A FAMILY OF FAITH AND FRIENDSHIP? Rev. Patrick J. Ryan, S.J. considers this question in his wonderful new book, Amen: Jews, Christians, and Muslims Keep Faith with God (The Catholic University of America Press, October 2018). Ryan takes a close theological look at Jews, Christians, and Muslims […]
ERBIL: In order to overcome the murderous madness of the Islamic State, which has covered with blood a land already brutalised by years of wars and violence, it is necessary to start with “a plan of dialogue and outreach at the local level”, involving first of all children and young people, the new generations, “who will be tasked with building life together” beyond their respective religions.
Starting from such premises, Fr Samir Youssef, pastor of the diocese of Amadiya (Iraqi Kurdistan) who has long been on the frontline of the refugee emergency, is promoting a project to transform “young Muslims, Christians and Yazidis” into “seeds of dialogue ” to breathe new life into Mosul, the Nineveh plain, and Iraq as a whole.
Speaking to AsiaNews, the priest mentioned an initiative that is in its initial stage, but one that has already garnered “the enthusiastic participation” of some thirty of…
Humphrey Fisher is not the first link between the Welsh borders and Islam! The fantastic Muslim Museum Initiative includes a coin that King Offa had minted with an Arabic inscription. Fascinating how the contact goes back so far: http://muslimmuseum.org.uk/king-offas-dinar/
Offa’s dyke runs through Newchurch, where Humphrey lives, and he has walked many sections of the Offa’s Dyke Path, little realising the connection with his academic work on Islamic history!
Indeed another section on the website shows the Celtic cross with Islamic inscription, physical evidence of the long-thought of links between the Celtic and Arabic worlds.
Here is the text on the MMI website, courtesy of the British Museum where the coin is held.
In 773-774 King Offa of Mercia minted a coin that imitated a dinar. It bears the shahadah (Islamic declaration of faith). It is on display at the British Museum.
An Islamic inscription on an English coin
This unique gold coin of Offa, king of Mercia, is one of the most remarkable English coins of the Middle Ages. It is remarkable because it imitates a gold dinar of the caliph al-Mansur, ruler of the Islamic Abbasid dynasty. Although the Arabic inscription is not copied perfectly, it is close enough that it is clear that the original from which it was copied was struck in the Islamic year AH 157 (AD 773-74). It seems that the engraver had no understanding of the Arabic script: the name and title OFFA REX has been inserted upside down in relation to the Arabic inscription.
The purpose of the coin is uncertain. It has been suggested that it was made as a gift for the pope (it was first recorded in Rome), but it is unlikely that any Christian king would have sent the pope a coin with and inscription stating that ‘there is no God but Allah alone’, however badly the Arabic had been copied. It is more likely that it was designed for use in trade; Islamic gold dinars were the most important coinage in the Mediterranean at the time. Offa’s coin looked enough like the original that it would be readily accepted in southern Europe, while at the same time his own name was clearly visible.
Top Muslim and Christian clerics from the Middle East gathered in Cairo on Tuesday for a two-day conference on promoting co-existence, as sectarian conflict continues to ravage the region. The “Freedom and Citizenship” conference is hosted by Al-Azhar, one of the leading Sunni Muslim authorities based in Cairo. It comes as Coptic Christians in Egypt’s […]
When the Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump stated in December 2015 that the United States should close its borders to all Muslims, the reaction from American Christian leaders was admirably swift. Mainline Protestant clergy, prominent evangelicals, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops all lambasted it. “Anyone who cares an iota about religious liberty should […]