Thursday, January 12, 2017 6:00pm
The Bahá'i faith is one of the youngest of the world's major religions.
A faith without borders, most of the Bahá'is live outside of the birth place of the religion, Iran, where they are seen as heretics. After the Islamic revolution of 1979, overnight the rights of minorities were stifled. Many Bahá'is were incarcerated, tortured and evicted from their home country. Today, despite years of persecution, the Bahá'is have not only survived but thrived in the diaspora, with communities in 190 countries around the world.
For Heart and Soul from the BBC World Service, Lipika travels to America, home to the second largest Bahá'i population in the world. In New York Lipika meets several Bahá'i asylum seekers as they begin their new lives in the US. They are graduates from the Bahá'is' clandestine university, an underground network of teacher and students, the community's solution of self-education after being banned from colleges in Iran. Lipika also travels to Chicago where she visits the oldest Bahá'i temple in the world.
Produced and presented by Lipika Pelham
Photo Credit : Cameron Spencer / Getty Images News
Thursday, January 5, 2017 6:00pm
Leaving the Orthodox Jewish community does not just mean forgoing your faith – it also means leaving a community, a life and in many cases your family. It can be so traumatic for many people that there are groups, set up to help people to distance themselves from the faith they feel encompasses every aspect of their lives.
Daniel Gordon meets Hasidic Jews at different stages of the slow process of leaving their tight-knit religious community and joining mainstream society.
Daniel will meet Maya, who grew up in the tight knit Jewish suburb of Stamford Hill in north London who tells him about her life as part of the community. He also meets 25-year-old Izzy who, until a couple of years ago, could not speak English such was the introverted nature of life. Daniel is there as he opens the results of an important maths examination that is taken by 16-year-olds in the UK.
Leaving the ‘derech’, or path, is not an easy decision. In doing so, ties are cut permanently with a faith and a way of life that is governed by strict laws. In understanding what it is to leave we understand more what it was to be part of it in the first place.
Thursday, August 11, 2016 7:00pm
Dr Robert Beckford explores how cheating in sport conflicts with Christian principles.
He asks how can an Olympic champion stand on the podium with a gold medal and then thank God in an interview if they have taken performance enhancing drugs? Can a footballer celebrate the penalty he has ‘won’ and then point to the sky in honour of God? In this edition of Heart and Soul, featuring Olympic medallist Ben Johnson, Robert explores what the Christianity has to say about fair play and whether by cheating you are dishonouring your faith.
Doping, Diving and God was presented by Robert Beckford and produced in Salford by Rajeev Gupta.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Thursday, December 29, 2016 6:00pm
Africa has been called the most homophobic continent. In the majority of African countries, homosexual activity is illegal; in some, long jail sentences or even death await those who break anti-gay laws.
Charles Adesina, himself a gay man with Nigerian roots, goes on a personal exploration to discover how deep homophobia really runs in families and faith communities in Africa – and how much churches and mosques have to do with it. He hears the story of Jide Macaulay, a Nigerian who struggled with his sexuality since he was a young boy and eventually had to flee the country after receiving death threats for establishing House of Rainbow, a Christian community for people from sexual minorities.
In South Africa, Charles meets a group of courageous grandmothers – Gogos in Zulu – who have taken it upon themselves to learn what it means to be lesbian or gay, and to defend their LGBT grandchildren from family hostility.
He visits Mpho Tutu-van Furth, daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who famously said that he would never worship a homophobic God. Mpho, herself an Anglican priest, married a woman last year – but under Anglican canon law, her father was not allowed to give the couple his blessing as a clergyman. Asked what she would say to the vast majority of African churchmen who object to same-sex marriage, Mpho expresses understanding – but argues that a God of love cannot be opposed to the kind of loving relationship she shares with her wife, Marceline.
Finally, Charles visits Cape Town’s People’s Mosque to hear the story of openly gay Imam Muhsin Hendricks, who works with LGBT Muslims and their parents to show them that a compassionate understanding of Islam embraces people regardless of their sexuality.
Picture: Hands on a bible, Credit: Thinkstock
Thursday, December 22, 2016 6:00pm
Every week Father Michael Pfleger takes to social media to share the number of people killed over the past few days in his city, Chicago. The numbers are almost always in double figures and many of the dead are young African-American men shot on the streets that surround his church, St Sabina’s, in the almost entirely black suburb of Auburn-Gresham.
Rajini Vaidyanathan meets Father Pfleger after Sunday Mass, to explore with him why he has devoted his life’s work to trying to rid Auburn-Gresham of gun crime. Whilst the vast majority of this congregation is African American, Father Pfleger is white. Meeting with his parishioners Rajini discovers how personal his crusade has become. General Ware, a young man recently out of prison describes how Father Mike took him in after he found him wandering the streets late at night. Mothers Annette Nance Holt and Pam Bosley describe how Father Mike help them to find their faith again after the tragic loss of their teenage sons, both shot and killed. Father Mike shares how he has personally been affected by guns, his adopted son Jarvis shot just yards from his church door.
While many praise the work of Father Pfleger, there are others who argue some of it is cosmetic and that real change must come from within the black community itself. Maze Jackson discusses Father Mike’s role within the community and whether change can be sustained.
The Radical Disciple was presented by Rajini Vaidyanathan and produced by David McGuire and Claire Press
Photo credit: Andrew Burton