Remona AlyTuesday 01 March 2016 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2
Star Wars, Faith and Sci-fi unity
Star Wars, Faith and Sci-fi unity, Pause for Thought, Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show
It was my birthday the other day and instead of holding a candlelit vigil, I was persuaded to engage in some sci-fi fun. Some friends planned a surprise and told me, “Just turn up dressed as a Jedi”. Then they whisked me away to my first ever Film and Comic Convention.
Safe to say my inner geek went as wild as a Wookie losing his rag. I gaped at Stormtroopers, queued to have a photo with Lando Calrissian, and could not resist buying a Millennium falcon chopping board.
I’ve grown up with Star Wars running in my bloodstream. It appeals to so many different types of people, not least to people of faith like me. I love the Jedi for being these uber cool spiritual warriors, guardians of peace and justice, who focus on meditation and discipline. In fact, the Jedi Order have been compared to Sufi Muslims, who once dressed in simple hooded robes. Word has it that George Lucas spent months with a Sufi Order in California, and even borrowed the word ‘Jeddi’ that was used for senior shaykhs meaning ‘grandfather’ in Arabic.
So without doubt I see a place for faith in science fiction. It embraces anything and everything, and shows how religion isn’t limited or irrelevant. It can be as open as an expanding universe. I felt so comfortable at the sci-fi convention, even though I was the only Jedi in a headscarf. It was a safe space where no one judged, and all were welcome. Whether you were Dr Who, Kylo Ren, or Godzilla – galaxies and species were all united, whatever our beliefs.
And while I won’t be praying to become a Jedi in Paradise – like one blogger has – I will be praying to see more of the inter-galactic cultural exchange on planet earth that I see so fervently in the followers of sci-fi.