The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton: Hugh Turley Investigates His Death

December 10th, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Thomas Merton. Questions linger.
Was it a heart attack, accident, or murder?

Investigative Reporter, Hugh Turley, makes the case that the conclusion that Thomas Merton died by accident cannot possibly be true. Hugh Turley and David Martin are co-authors of the 2018 book, The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton, An Investigation.

John Shuck speaks live with Hugh Turley on Beloved Community about the death of Thomas Merton, who was an anti-war author and spiritual leader. He died mysteriously on December 10th, 1968 in Thailand.

“Merton was in apparent good health and at the height of his productive powers when he died suddenly and mysteriously while attending a monastic conference, on December 10th, 1968, near Bangkok, Thailand. He was 53 years old. Up to now, no one has examined the circumstances of his death systematically, critically, and what is most important honestly. That is our purpose here.” p. 2.

Hugh Turley, as a volunteer columnist for the Hyattsville Life and Times was winner of the National Newspaper Association award for best serious column, small circulation, non-daily division.

Book’s website – The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton.

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Husayn Means Beauty: The Attraction of the Seventh Century Martyr (ENCORE)

Scholars and religious leaders explore the impact of Husayn and the devotion of the 15-20 million pilgrims who visit his shrine each year. Part 1 of 2.

This is a rebroadcast of an episode that originally aired in May 2018.

I will be attending the pilgrimage to Arbaeen from Najaf to Karbala, Iraq, at the end of October, with a Maulana Mohammad Baig, courtesy of the Husayniah Islamic Society of Seattle.

 On April 28th 2018, The Husayniah Islamic Society of Seattle and Global Initiatives co-sponsored an interfaith educational event called Husayn Day.  The event was a reflection upon Husayn, the martyred grandson of the Prophet Mohammad. Rather than bow to his oppressors, he, along with 72 family members were killed in Karbala, Iraq in 680 CE. He is considered a martyr for justice, truth, love, and resistance. He is a leading figure in Shia Islam and his death is mourned each year by between 15 and 20 million pilgrims who visit his shrine during the forty-day period of mourning from Ashura to Arbaeen.

In the next two episodes, you will hear speeches from the presenters on Husayn and the yearly pilgrimage to his shrine. The presenters include, Dr. John Morrow, Sister Nicole Correri, Sheikh Fadhel Al-Salani, Sheik Ahmed Bahriny, Maulana Mohammad Baig, and me, John Shuck.

The West is largely ignorant about Islam and, in particular, Shia Islam and the person of Hussain. Twenty million people visit his shrine each other. This the largest annual gathering of human beings on planet Earth. Yet, Western media ignores it. According to an article in the Huffington Post by Sayed Mahdi al-Modarresi, “World’s Biggest Pilgrimage Now Underway, And Why You’ve Never Heard of it!” 

Why you have never heard of it probably has to do with the fact that the press is concerned more with negative, gory, and sensationalized tabloids, than with positive, inspiring narratives, particularly when it comes to Islam.

You will hear about it on Progressive Spirit.

In this first episode you will hear from Dr. John Morrow, full professor, author, senior research scholar, public speaker and activist. He is author of a number of numerous articles and books including The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. Dr. Morrow provided a stirring poetic spiritual biography of Husayn.

You will also hear from Sister Nicole Correri. She is the preeminent female Shia speaker in North America. She will begin a Ph. D. program at Boston University in the Fall.  Sr. Correri told the importance of Zainab, Husayn’s sister, and described her experience attending Arbaeen.

Video of the entire conference.

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The Martyrdom of Gaza: A Conversation with Norman Finkelstein

“On May 14th or May 15th the people of Gaza are going to make their big last effort to break out of prison. And it will be a huge mobilization to try to break down that prison fence, that ghetto fence, that concentration camp fence. And we here have to give our all to make sure to do our best to ascertain and to assure that they succeed.” — Dr. Norman Finkelstein

Dr. Norman Finkelstein speaks with John Shuck about his book, Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom. His book was not a “labor of love.” It is in part a coroner’s report. It is a story, backed with detail and research from one of the world’s leading voices on the Israel-Palestine conflict. It is the story of what happened to Gaza. Gaza, the martyred.

But the story is not without hope. The hope, according to Finkelstein, is non-violent resistance, what Israel dreads most.

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