Thursday, April 6, 2017 7:00pm
The Philippines is a devoutly religious country, with more than 86% of the population Roman Catholic – and it has huge drug problem. President Rodrigo Duterte, himself a Catholic, has been waging a controversial war on his country’s drugs problem since he took office in 2016.
Rebecca Henschke explores the fall out President Duterte’s controversial war on drugs is having on both the Church and Catholics in the pews. She visits drug rehab and prevention centres which are part of the Sanlakbay program that the Catholic Church has set up in response to the influx of thousands of drug surrenderees giving themselves up.
Duterte feels that after years of sexual abuse, much of which was covered up the Catholic Church, it has lost its right to comment on moral issues and many of the people who support him agree
Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:00pm
David Cooper was a Chaplain to one of the toughest units in the British army during a territorial war over the South Atlantic islands known to the British as the Falklands and to the Argentines as the Malvinas. Thirty-five years on Cooper tries to explain the love of God amid the suffering each side inflicted on the other. But Cooper is about to encounter his greatest challenge in an Argentine soldier, Horacio Benitez.
Benitez was a young conscript during the war. He remembers with horror how he had machine-gunned advancing British soldiers. “You ask yourself how many fathers you have killed. And you ask yourself why?” That question remained with Benitez, a man of profound Catholic faith for the rest of his life. He has now made it his mission to visit Britain to seek reconciliation. As Benitez visits one of the Falklands war memorials in Britain he reads the names of the British dead. He recalls his own pain at losing comrades. But his biggest struggle is with his conscience. "I tried to find justification for what I did, that I did it for my country. But deep inside I know it was evil."
Meeting for the first time these former enemies, Cooper and Benitez together try to make sense of their war experience and the questions it poses for faith. Can there ever be a higher purpose in war – and what is needed now for peace?
(Photo: Mount Longdon was one of the places where Argentine and British soldiers fought during the 1982 conflict. Credit: Getty Images)
Thursday, March 23, 2017 7:00pm
The fastest growing religion in Iceland is Norse paganism.
Floating in a hot spring, snow falling from the night sky, John Laurenson meets Teresa Drofn. A 25 year-old Heathen, Teresa describes her return to the religion of her Viking forebears as a renewal of a unique spiritual relationship with nature.
A millennium after it was banned in exchange for Christianity, John explores why Icelanders are returning to the faith. At a ‘blot’, or sacred ceremony John hears a priestess read aloud from the Eddas, an ancient Icelandic text serving as scripture for the new heathens of Europe. In the old days at a ‘blot’, there’d be animal, even human sacrifices. Today they share in traditional Viking food, horse and whale, sheep’s head, puffin pâté and rotten shark.
Visiting the site of a newly planned Heathen temple John meets high priest Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson. Hilmar has presided over hundreds of weddings and seen his own congregation increase six-fold within a single decade. This new Heathen house of worship, the first in a thousand years, will be aligned with the sun’s path and burrowed deep into a hill near the city’s airport.
(Photo: A priestess raises a bull’s horn filled with beer at a heathen ‘blot’- a religious ceremony, Iceland. Credit: Silke Schurack / BBC)
Thursday, March 16, 2017 7:00pm
In Copenhagen, on an upmarket shopping street, above a burger joint, two female imams are leading Friday prayers.
The Mariam mosque is the first female led mosque in Scandinavia and one of only a handful worldwide. Anna Holligan travels to Denmark to meet its founder and imaamah, Sherin Khanhan. In building a feminist mosque Sherin hopes to revolutionize the traditional role of an imam and challenge some of the traditional patriarchal structures in Islam. Sherin argues that promoting female imams does not go against the teachings of Islam, but virtuously follows in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad who asked women to lead prayers in his own house mosque.
Sherin’s interpretation of Islam has attracted criticism from leading scholars. Anna meets Professor Ebrahim Afash from the University of Copenhagen who accuses Sherin of diluting Islam. Professor Afash argues although the tiny mosque has received global attention by western media its impact upon Danish Muslims is insignificant.
(Photo: Betina Garcia / Getty Images)
Thursday, February 9, 2017 6:00pm
The national motto of Indonesia is ‘Bhinneka Tunggal Ika’ - Unity In Diversity. It is the world’s largest Muslim majority country, but across its thousands of islands live more than 300 ethnic groups. Pancasila, the nation's founding philosophy, recited by school children every morning, proclaims unity in democracy, nationality and the belief in one god.
However Indonesia's founding principles are being tested by a high profile blasphemy case. Jakarta’s first non-Muslim governor, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, is the highest ranking official ever to be charged with insulting a religion. Whilst on trial, he is also running for re-election as governor. Before the blasphemy charges he was well ahead in the polls, but now it is possible he will lose in the February elections and may be jailed.
With days remaining before Jakarta's elections Indonesian correspondent, Rebecca Henschke, investigates the use of Indonesia’s blasphemy laws alongside its reputation for religious tolerance. Galvanized by pressure from hardline groups, Rebecca witnesses crowds of tens of thousands gathered in Jakarta demanding Ahok to be jailed. Rebecca also meets Ahok's devoted supporters, committed to the campaign trail for his re-election.
Ahok’s rise as a Chinese Christian to one of the country’s most prominent positions was seen as an example of Indonesia's commitment to religious tolerance. Now, many fear, a guilty verdict could cause irreversible damage.
Presented and produced by Rebecca Henschke
Photo Credit : Oscar Siagian / Stringer