Saturday, October 15, 2016 10:00pm
David Baker is a practising and proud Jew. He is also gay and in the eyes of many of his fellow Jews the two cannot go together. He has had to wrestle with these two sides to his identity leading to many hours of praying and soul searching, exploring whether he could still remain within his faith.
Just after the Orlando shootings in June he was invited to the Iftar, the fast breaking meal in Islam, alongside LGBT Muslims and it was there that he realised that Jews and Muslims have more in common than he had first thought.
David has been to meet fellow Jews and Muslims who have had to wrestle with their faith, explore the teachings and scriptures and argue with God to come to a place in their lives where their sexuality does not preclude them from being faithful.
Presenter: David Baker
Producer: Angela Robson
(Photo: A man wears a rainbow coloured crocheted skull cap. Credit: Thomas Coex)
Saturday, October 8, 2016 10:00pm
The Amazigh women of Morocco have faced threats to their strong traditions and distinct religious identity for thousands of years. Celeste Hicks travelled high into the Atlas Mountains to find out how the Amazigh are dealing with a new threat – a stricter traditional version of Islam that could undermine their unique way of practising their faith.
She hears how the Amazigh are trying to hold on to many of their traditions such as carpet weaving and facial tattoos which the conservative forces that are becoming more influential would find ‘haram’ or forbidden. The Amazigh women are a strong independent force in their historic tribe which date back to the days of Jesus' time on earth and holding on to that identity is a continuing struggle.
(Photo: Amazigh women with facial tattoos carry their children on their backs)
*The programme have been re-edited since it was first broadcast to ensure that certain translations are more accurate*
Saturday, October 1, 2016 10:00pm
When a Sunni and a Shia Muslim in Britain tie the knot, this is sometimes jokingly referred to as a 'Sushi' marriage. Such marriages are not uncommon but the wars in Syria and Iraq have led many Muslims in Britain to identify more strongly with their own branch of Islam. Young people who fall in love across the divide face increasing resistance from their families and communities.
Zubeida Malik meets three Sushi couples to find out how strongly the differences are playing themselves out within their marriages and families.
Ahmed, a Shia from a British-Iraqi background, and Rabia, a Sunni from a Pakistani family, almost saw their marriage torpedoed before it had taken place by a Sunni relative who believed such a union to be Islamically forbidden.
Farzana, a Sunni, was so horrified when she first saw her husband Shabbir flagellate himself with chains during a Shia mourning ritual that she fainted on the spot; whereas Sabina and Uzair, a young couple with a new baby, are taking refuge in the perception that they are both Muslims – and that they have far more in common than separates them.
International politics, some of the couples say, does play a role in their relationship. And, at a Muslim marriage event, very few of the single hopefuls are willing to marry someone from outside their own branch of Islam. Yet, says Shia husband Shabbir, Sushi marriages can have a positive effect on community cohesion; once you have both kinds of Muslim in the family, he says, you are far more likely to hold your peace.
(Photo: Ahmed (L) and Rabia, a 'Sushi' couple)
Saturday, September 24, 2016 10:00pm
Every year millions of rural Chinese workers swarm into the new vast mega cities that are growing seemingly unconstrained all over this vast country
As they settle and populate cities like Beijing and Shanghai, they are bring their Christian faith with them, changing the social and religious landscape of the country and challenging the moral authority of the Communist Party
In the second part of his journey exploring Christianity in China, Danny Vincent meets the people worshipping in the shadows, out of sight of the government who have decreed that practicing their faith is illegal
China will soon overtake the USA as the world’s most populace nation, Danny asks whether the state is just paranoid that Chinese Christians will shift their loyalty from the ideals of the Communist state to the word of God.
Saturday, September 17, 2016 10:00pm
China is an atheist state, officially, but Christianity is booming. It is estimated that there are more Christians in the country than members of the Communist Party.
Danny Vincent travels to the south-east coast to the city of Wenzhou – known as China’s Jerusalem. In Wenzhou, he discovers the scale of the recent demolitions by the government of crucifixes, the most venerated symbol of the Christian faith, officially because they are too tall or illegal. It is estimated that 1,700 crosses have been knocked down since 2014. Danny Vincent travels to Wenzhou to meet Pastor Zhang, an illegal pastor in one of the thousands of underground churches that serve the millions of Chinese Christians.
However, he also meets a pastor from a government registered church who defends the crosses being taken down and how he says the real reasons that crosses are demolished is because they are illegally built and not because the Chinese government is so concerned about the meteoric rise in the faith.
(Photo: A giant red cross propped up against a window)