Living in a Culture of Fear (2005)

A Muslim Perspective

in European Judaism
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For those who are not familiar with the Harry Potter series I apologize; however, I think that a very fine point about fear was made in the third book of the series, The Prisoner of Azkhaban. Harry is about to come up against a Boggart – a creature which has no shape of its own, it is a shape shifter. It takes on the shape of what you fear the most. Harry’s teacher, Professor Lupin, does not allow Harry to confront the Boggart and Harry is upset about this, concerned that Professor Lupin had thought him inadequate in the face of the challenge. However, Lupin assures Harry that he had just been concerned that Lord Voldemort – the Dark Lord – would appear in the classroom. Harry, however, says no – he was not afraid of Lord Voldemort, rather he was afraid of the Dementors, who drain away all happiness from living things. ‘Ah,’ says Lupin, ‘it seems that the thing you fear, is fear itself. Very wise Harry!’ Indeed, very wise Harry. Fear is a crippling emotion.

European Judaism

A Journal for the New Europe