fbpx

Lantern

Publishing and Media

Al-Hafiz B.A. Masri

Al-Hafiz Basheer Ahmed Masri was, by all accounts, a bold, pioneering, and revolutionary Muslim personality. It would not be a stretch to say that Masri’s fascinating life spanned the history of Islam in the 20th Century and in fact played an influential role in impacting its presentation and understanding; his influence, rather than diminishing, has now been extended into the 21st century in a crucially important area—environment, ecology, and animal welfare, in relation to Islam.

Masri’s father, Abdul-Rehman Misri, had converted to Islam from Hinduism at the age of 18, and became a scholar in Islam. He trained the young Basheer to memorize the Quran, which he did by the age of 13, earning him the honorific title “Al-Hafiz.” Subsequently, Masri gained a bachelor’s degree from Government College, Lahore, specializing in Arabic. He emigrated to Africa in the mid- 20th Century where he assumed posts (Principal) at the Aga Khan Schools in the then Tanganyika. In Africa, he befriended and advised future leaders of East Africa, including Julius Nyerere (later to become President of Tanzania), Tom Mboya (who became a Minister in the Kenyan Government) and most significantly, Milton Obote (later to become the first President of Uganda). Masri, in fact, played a role in assisting the independence movements to oppose British colonialism, no doubt a transference of his anti-colonialist stance acquired in India’s independence movement before partition.

Leaving politics due to dissatisfaction with Obote, who he felt was too self-serving, rather than working for the advancement of people (native Africans), as originally intended, Masri’s migration to the United Kingdom in the early 1960s led him to become the first Sunni Imam of Shah Jehan mosque in Woking, and Editor of the Islamic Review. He also studied journalism in England, obtaining a diploma in the field. Shah Jehan Mosque was the then central Islamic institution in Europe. As Imam at this major institution, he had the opportunity of meeting many Islamic dignitaries and impactful individuals. For example, he met Malcolm X, who attended one of his lectures at the London School of Economics. In 1968, Masri toured Europe, North Africa, Middle East, and the Indian Subcontinent by car/caravan with his wife (Salima), leaving England for two years. He spent a solid year studying at Al-Azhar University in Egypt, furthering his knowledge of Islam and Arabic.

After his retirement from Shah Jehan Mosque in 1968, Masri was approached by Compassion in World Farming in the mid-1980s, to write about Islam and Animal Welfare, which he had gained knowledge of, over the years in Africa, which at the time was teeming with wildlife (having participated in an Animal Welfare organization) and through his acute and practical mind, he was the first Muslim to write/present on Animal Experimentation and Islam for the International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals (IAAPEA), on the world stage. This led to the books, Islamic Concern for Animals (in both English and Arabic), Animal in Islam and the keynote Chapter in the introductory Ecology Series on World Religions and Ecology, published by Cassels (just before his death in 1992) edited by Fazlun Khalid and the moving video “Creatures of God.” His closest grandson, Nadeem Haque, (son of Masri’s daughter Tahera) continued research in Islam, Animals and the Environment/Ecology and was the main driving force behind the publication of the book: Ecolibrium: Sacred Balance in Islam (Authors: Nadeem Haque, Al-Hafiz B.A. Masri, Mehran Banaei, with a Foreword by Michael W. Fox, Beacon Books, Manchester, 2021). Nadeem’s scholarly interests and activities finally culminated in the long-awaited re-publication of the original version of Animals in Islam in 2022, with an extra chapter on reflections by experts in the field, who were influenced to various degrees, by Masri.

linkRead More

Gordon Meade

Gordon Meade is a Scottish poet based in the East Neuk of Fife. He has been the Creative Writing Fellow at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, and the Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the University of Dundee, and has read from his work throughout the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, and Luxembourg. He is the author of eleven other collections of poetry, including In Transit (Enthusiastic Press 2022), Zoospeak (Enthusiastic Press 2020), The Year of the Crab (Cultured Llama Publishing 2017), Les Animots: A Human Bestiary (Cultured Llama Publishing 2015), and Sounds of the Real World (Cultured Llama Publishing 2013). 

linkRead More

Z. Zane McNeill

Z. Zane McNeill is a nonbinary activist-scholar, ten-year vegan, and co-editor of Queer and Trans Voices: Achieving Liberation Through Consistent Anti-Oppression (Sanctuary Publishers, 2020). Zane lives in Morgantown, West Virginia.

linkRead More

Cheryl Moss

Cheryl Moss understands the unconscionable misuse and exploitation of animals and the impact on our environment and pandemics. She believes in creating a children’s book series about alternative ways of thinking and living to foster fundamental change. With her husband, she created the non-profit Let’s Share a Dog, whereby lonely people could be connected with busy people in their own neighborhood through the mutual love of dogs. She has written two books, Jenny the Magical Dog Next Door and Jenny Saves the Day. Cheryl is a staunch animal activist and vegan who resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

linkRead More

Peter Marsh

Peter Marsh received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wesleyan University in 1976. Since receiving a law degree four years later, he has represented people with disabilities and organizations that provide services to them. Peter lives with his wife in a small New Hampshire town.

linkRead More

James McWilliams

James McWilliams is an historian and writer based in Austin, Texas. His books include Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly (Little, Brown) and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America (Columbia University Press).

McWilliams’ writing on food, agriculture, and animals has appeared in the New York TimesHarper’sThe Washington PostSlateThe American Scholar, and The Texas Observer. He is a frequent contributor to Freakonomics.com, ConservationPacific Standard, and Laika Magazine. His literary non-fiction has appeared in The MillionsQuarterly Conversation and The New York Times Book Review.
james-mcwilliams.com

linkRead More

Richard J. Meagher

Richard J. Meagher, PhD is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Social Entrepreneurship at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA, and holds an MA in Philosophy and PhD in Political Science from the City University of New York. He lives with his wife and two daughters on the south side of Richmond. He discusses state and local politics in local media and on his RVA Politics blog at rvapol.com.

linkRead More

Sophia Christine Murphy

Sophia Christine Murphy is a specialist in anthroposophic homeopathic medicines and therapies. She was, for many years, Director of Weleda USA and later founded Lilipoh magazine, for which she remains the International Correspondent. An author of several books, she currently lives in Dingle on the southwest coast of Ireland.

linkRead More

Victoria Moran

Victoria Moran has been a Main Street Vegan for almost 30 years and is an obesity survivor, maintaining a 60+-pound weight loss into the double-digit decades. She’s the bestselling author of eleven books, including Creating a Charmed Life (in 30 languages around the world) and the plant-based weight loss classic, The Love-Powered Diet. Her college thesis became Compassion the Ultimate Ethic: An Exploration of Veganism, originally published in 1985 and the first work on vegan philosophy and practice to come from a major publisher. Victoria is also an inspirational speaker, corporate spokesperson, certified holistic health counselor (HHC, AADP), graduate of the T. Colin Campbell Foundation/eCornell program in plant-based nutrition, a certified life coach, a vegan lifestyle coach in private practice, and founder and director of Main Street Vegan Academy, training and certifying vegan lifestyle coaches. Cited by VegNews among the Top 10 Contemporary Vegetarian Authors, Victoria appeared twice on The Oprah Winfrey Show and she’s one of the celebrity coaches for PCRM’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart.

Her articles have appeared in Yoga Journal, Mothering, Natural Health, Woman’s Day, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, VegNews, and Vegetarian Times. Her work has been noted in USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, Self, Elle, Glamour, Allure, and O, the Oprah Magazine. She was named Vegan of the Year 2012, sharing that honor with male counterpart Michael Greger, MD, and she speaks extensively for vegetarian/vegan festivals, health events, women’s conferences, associations, corporations, and religious groups. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, and an enthusiastic immigrant to New York City, Moran lives with her husband, writer and musician, William Melton, and their rescue-dog, Forbes, in a “green” condo in Harlem. Her website is mainstreetvegan.net.

linkRead More

Netanel Miles-Yepez

Netanel Miles-Yépez is a Mexican-American artist, comparative religion scholar and teacher of contemporary spirituality. After learning that he was descended from a Mexican family of crypto-Jews, Netanel decided to study History of Religions at Michigan State University and Contemplative Religion at the Naropa Institute, specializing in comparative religion, mystical spirituality, and non-dual philosophies. In 1998, he moved to Boulder, Colorado, to study with the innovative Hasidic master and leader in ecumenical dialogue, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement. In addition to Schachter-Shalomi, he also studied with various Sufi masters and teachers of Buddhism, and counts Father Thomas Keating, Trappist monk and founder of the Centering Prayer movement, as an important influence. After years of working as a professional editor, and as the director of a non-profit, Netanel started Albion-Andalus Books to publish serious, though less obviously marketable works often overlooked by larger publishers.

Today, Netanel teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Naropa University, and spends the rest of his time writing, painting and working on publishing projects. His paintings have been shown in a number of solo and group exhibits in Colorado, and as a writer, he is known for his critically acclaimed commentaries on Hasidic spirituality, A Heart Afire: Stories and Teachings of the Early Hasidic Masters (2009) and A Hidden Light: Stories and Teachings of Early HaBaD and Bratzlav Hasidism (2011), as well the edited volumes, The Common Heart: An Experience of Interreligious Dialogue (2006) and the award winning Living Fully, Dying Well: Reflecting on Death to Find Your Life’s Meaning (2009).

linkRead More