East of Wimbledon

East of Wimbledon by Nigel Williams Read Free Book Online

Book: East of Wimbledon by Nigel Williams Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nigel Williams
Wimbledon, and is a recent convert to Islam. He is twenty-four years old, a fine games player and a dedicated teacher of the young! He wrote to us, asking to be included in our venture as follows—
    With a thrill of horror, Robert recognized a (slightly doctored) paragraph from his letter of application:
    I am a practising Muslim, based in Wimbledon, who is keen to develop my interpersonal skills in relation to other Muslims. I have taught at several non-Muslim schools and am keen to work with others of my faith in a supportive and fully Islamic environment! Wilson is six feet two inches, fond of opera and married with six children.
    Next to this Malik had written:
    I HOPE YOU LIKE THE OPERA IDEA. AND ONE OF US HAS TO BE MARRIED. IT MIGHT AS WELL BE YOU! I WANT TO DO A MAILSHOT OF ALL PARENTS WITH ISLAMIC NAMES WHOSE CHILDREN FAILED TO GET IN TO CRANBORNE SCHOOL. URGENT WE TALK RE THIS. POSS CHANGE NAME OF SCHOOL? LOSE REFERENCE TO ISLAM? I AM ANXIOUS FOR A BROAD BASE, WILSON. YOUR VIEWS, PLEASE, SOONEST!
    The final staff biography read:
    ‘ RAFIQ ’ ALI SHAH ( MSC BIRM UNIV .)
    ‘Rafiq’ is a close personal friend of Mr Malik and has been closely involved in the Foundation Trust for the Islamic Boys’ Wimbledon Independent School. He is a talented and modern-thinking scientist, with a great flair for doing and making practical things, from furniture to jewellery! He will be taking the boys in all aspects of crafts and sciences. ‘Rafiq’ also hails from the Wimbledon Dharjees, a group distantly related to the Nizari Ismailis, whose full history is available in a pamphlet written by Mr Shah, our patron, entitled FROM BAGHDAD TO WIMBLEDON. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WIMBLEDON DHARJEES!
    Mr Malik had not been sure about this last sentence. He had crossed it out and, next to it, written:
    ‘ BRIEF ’ IS SOMETHING OF AN UNDERSTATEMENT. THE BOOK IS TWO THOUSAND PAGES LONG AND NOT RECOMMENDED TO ANYONE OUT OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT. REMIND ME TO ‘CLUE YOU IN’ ON THE WIMBLEDON DHARJEES!
    Next to Rafiq’s name he had written:
    POSS NOT MENTION RAFIQ’S BACKGROUND HERE. CERTAINLY NO PICTURE OF THE UGLY BASTARD. WE DO NOT WANT LOONIES!
    No, thought Robert grimly, they certainly did not want any more loonies. His mother had always told him that he had no grip on reality. He wondered what she would have to say about Mr Malik.
    Someone had clearly opened the package after Mr Malik had finished with it. It wasn’t just the broken seal that told him that: there were grimy fingermarks across the photographs that could not possibly belong to neat, well-perfumed Mr Malik. Could this be something to do with the two men in the Frog and Ferret? They certainly had an unhealthy interest in and knowledge of Robert’s involvement with the school, and they looked like men who would have few qualms about intercepting people’s mail.
    ‘Won’t you get involved in fatwas and things?’ Robert’s mother was saying. ‘They can get awfully steamed up can Muslims, can’t they?’
    Robert found he had started to sweat. He rearranged his face, rather primly, and said, ‘People in the West are very ignorant about Islam.’
    He certainly knew nothing about it whatsoever. Everyone at the table, he realized, was looking at him. People always seemed to want him to speak, and he tried to oblige in his usual manner – by saying the first thing that came into his head.
    ‘It isn’t just about going down to the mosque,’ he went on, in a stern, authoritarian voice.
    ‘What is it about?’ said Maisie, her eyes shining.
    People certainly sat up and listened when you told them you were a Muslim. It was a talking point.
    ‘Well,’ said Robert weightily, ‘as far as I can make out – and it’s early days yet – it’s about . . .’
    What
was
it about? His father was looking at him in that eager, doggy way in which he looked for exam results, sports results, girl results and all the other results Robert had not, so far, been able to

Similar Books

Luckpenny Land

Freda Lightfoot

Sons and Daughters

Mary Jane Staples

A Christmas Promise

Annie Groves

Get Out or Die

Jane Finnis

Cape May

Holly Caster