It is not easy being a Muslim in the West today. The year 2014, which roughly corresponds to 1436 in the Islamic calendar, will go down as an especially difficult time.

A few years ago I got involved in a deep discussion with a Salafi man. We started talking about the Qur’an. I pointed out that the sacred text celebrates diversity and pluralism in over 200 verses and encourages Muslims to think and reflect.

A recent ‘World Exclusive’ on the front page of The Times caught my attention. It reported that the British Museum had allowed part of the Elgin (Parthenon) Marbles to leave London for the first time by lending one of the sculptures to the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

It was during Saddam Hussein’s disastrous annexation of Kuwait in 1990 that I had an idle daydream of what a tired old tyrant sitting on the throne of Iraq might be persuaded to do towards the end of his life.