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Aled Jones Sits In

1 hour, 30 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 21 February 2011

Aled Jones presents Radio 2's Early Breakfast Show this week and Phillip Lee from Sheffield chose Starship - 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now' in 'Wake Up with You'. He challenges Alan 'Deadly' Dedicoat with tongue twister torment and eases you into your Monday morning with a special track taken from his own collection.

Music Played

34 items

    They say there is a time and place for everything. I was the kind of kid
    who knew neither - and that infuriated some of the adults around me. My parents never required me to scurry away to play with other children when their friends came around. They were happy for me to sit and listen to them argue about politics or share the latest gossip.

    Before long, I wasn't content to just listen. Having been schooled by my mother in the golden rules - things like telling the truth and doing to others what you would have done to you - I found that my elders didn't always make the grade. The fact that I
    often didn't either was, of course, lost on me till many years and mea
    culpas later.

    In the meantime, I recall being reprimanded for "not knowing my place". This week on Pause for Thought we are thinking about heroes and one of mine is Imam Naseem - one person who never told me off. If he was around, instead of a rebuke there was a conversation.

    He was different. Born in India, Imam Naseem lived in New York. I remember visiting him in his damp, cramped basement apartment off a busy street in his beloved Queens. Dressed in his traditional tunic, trousers and prayer cap - all starched and white - we couldn't walk through the neighbourhood without being stopped every few steps by someone he knew or desperate for his advice.

    When he came to visit us, we would go to the planetarium to look at stars and talk about Star Trek and space travel. In his quiet moments, Imam Naseem would write poetry and love stories. I am not sure how he found the time. He was always doing things like preparing sandwiches for rough sleepers or organising midnight marches with his Baptist friends to close down crack houses on his street.

    "The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful," said Prophet
    Muhammad, "Be merciful to those on earth and the Lord of the Heavens
    will be merciful to you." As my newborn son grows up I will introduce him to my heroes; to the Prophets certainly, but also to Malcolm X (who was assassinated on this day in 1965) and Pete Seeger. But I hope he will also find living heroes - like Imam Naseem - whose extraordinary kindness and mercy can change the world and one rather argumentative kid too.


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