Author and Lecturer

anne

Hello,

Welcome to my website and I hope you will find something of interest.

As long as I can remember I have been interested in history and the religions of the world. This led me to studying both topics for my first degree and later a doctorate. For many years I worked with the Church of England in the capacity of Adviser in Inter Religious Relations. During this time I was also involved in a youth exchange programme with young Jews, Christians and Muslims in East London and Israel and in recognition of this I was made a Lay Canon of Chelmsford Cathedral.

Since then I have given many lectures on cruise ships and around the United Kingdom on the general theme of history. I am particularly interested in how historical events are influenced by religious ideas and how some of these themes are still with us today.

I have often been asked, when giving a lecture, if I have ever written anything. Until recently I haven’t had the opportunity, but now I have started to write up some of these lectures in book form.

Occasionally I will post a short article on this site.  These will refer to a current event that relates to either the lectures or books.  If you would like to comment on any of these posts, please use the contact form.

Here are some samples of my Lectures and details of my latest Books

Please take a look.


New Publication: THE MUGHAL EMPIRE

 

image 1 jpgIn 1526, a Turkic-Mongol warlord named Babur invaded Hindustan and established the Mughal Empire.


The Sanctions Fall and the Pendulum Swings

Slide1For over 30 years Iran has been living in exile from the rest of the world, a pariah state accused of promoting terrorism and building a nuclear bomb. It all started with the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the subsequent hostage crisis when over 60 US diplomats and citizens were held hostage in the American Embassy in Tehran for 444 days.


Post: The Hostage Dilemma


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For several days the fate of two hostages was held in the balance while the world waited to see if ISIS would release them in exchange for a woman jihadist held in a Jordanian jail.


POST: WILL IT WORK?

On the 24th November Home Secretary Theresa May announced new legislation aimed at protecting the United Kingdom against terrorism.

IMG_0357The assumption is that British jihadists who have been fighting with IS in Syria or Iraq will return to the UK and carry out similar brutal acts on the streets of London or Liverpool.


POST: SHIFTING ALLIANCES

When the Syrian uprising in the spring of 2011 broke out into civil war between Government forces and the ‘rebels’, the United States, Britain an other European countries came out in support of the opposition groups in their struggle to topple President Bashar al Assad. It quickly became apparent that the ‘rebels’ were made up of disparate groups, each with its own agenda.


POST: WHAT ARE BRITISH VALUES?

Our politicians frequently speak of ‘British Values’, a phrase that has always puzzled me. What exactly are ‘British Values’ and how do these differ from those that most nations aspire to?
Two incidents have occurred in recent weeks that have prompted me to ask the question again.


Post: A Muddled Agenda

On Friday 26th September the British Government voted to join the United States, France and other allied countries in the war against the so-called Islamic State, otherwise known as ISIS or ISIL (Islamic State of Syria and the Levant). Up until this point British action was confined to ‘reconnaissance’ activities. We are told that the aim of the allied action is to ‘hold back’ further ISIL advances as a first step towards the complete eradication of this terror group.

But there are major problems.


Post: An Impossible Resolution?

On the 24th September 2014 President Barack Obama chaired a high-level summit meeting of the United Nations Security Council. The 15-member body gathered to discuss the growing number of foreign fighters travelling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), ANF (Al-Nusrah Front) and other groups associated with Al Qaeda.


Post: Justification for ‘Holy War’

Those who advocate killing others in the context of a ‘Holy War’ often seek justification for their acts in religious texts.

 In the light of the recent rise of extreme groups such as IS (Islamic State), I have looked into some of these texts myself.   The following forms Chapter Three of  Abraham’s Children: Jew Christian Muslim, Commonality and Conflict.

Throughout the history of humankind there have been wars, despite all the horrors that follow in their wake. As a consequence of these horrors, whether individual death and suffering, destruction of wholesale communities, or widespread ecological damage, war has never been embarked upon lightly. Apart from being assured of reasonable success, rulers needed to have good reason or a just cause, for taking their people into battle. In other words, when is it justifiable to take up arms against an enemy? Furthermore, once engaged in battle, what are the ethics of war? What weapons should be used and how? How should property, prisoners, non-combatants and particularly women and children be treated?

In response to these questions there has developed in all traditions a ‘Just War Theory’.


Post: The Crime Against Women

On the 14th April 250 schoolgirls were kidnapped from their school in North Eastern Nigeria by the radical Islamist group Boko Haram. They are still held in captivity. In the past week a further three cases of atrocities against women have been reported by the world media.


Post: Saints and Relics: Past and Present

It seems that the power of sainthood and relics still has a hold over billions of people today, despite the Reformation of the 16th Century. The veneration of, and trade in relics was one of the main criticisms that Martin Luther and his followers made of the Catholic Church.


History Repeats Itself

In recent years we have seen history repeating itself at a rapid rate. Today we are witnessing perhaps the fourth attempt at regime change in as many years, all backed by the ‘West’. After Iraq, Libya and Syria we now have Ukraine. And we could add Egypt. In the process we are seeing a legitimate, though admittedly corrupt, Government replaced by instability and violence.


The Battle of the Camel continues

As the opposing sides in the Syrian Civil War face each other across a table in Geneva I am reminded of a similar event over thirteen hundred years ago in a desert near Basra in Iraq.

On the 7th November 656 AD the Islamic community faced the prospect of Muslim fighting Muslim for the first time in its history. The forces of Ali, the fourth Caliph, faced a rebel army led by the Prophet’s wife Aisha. The issue that brought them into conflict involved the assassination of the third Caliph, Uthman.


New publication

cropped shield copy 2A third publication entitled The Holy Roman Empire: power politics papacy has just been published in ebook format on Amazon.

This book covers the history of the Empire from the coronation of Charlemagne in AD800 through to its dissolution in AD1806 following the invasion of Napoleon. It was an Empire that had no fixed boundaries and yet at certain periods its territories stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Balkans and under Charles V also included parts of South America.

The book covers the complex relationship between Emperor and Pope, reference to the European Reformation and two chapters on the Habsburg dynasty.  The book includes some useful maps and family trees and being part of the In Brief Series: Books for Busy People, it should appeal to the general reader who is seeking a accessible introduction to a complex yet fascinating European power.

Available at Amazon UK as an ebook Browse