Thursday, October 8, 2015 7:00pm
At the same time as the bride and groom are preparing for the biggest day of their lives, groups of Sikh men, and women are making their own preperations, to stop their wedding taking place
Over the past few years there have been growing reports that interfaith marriages in Gurdwaras have been aggressively disrupted by protesters trying to stop people from having a religious ceremony sanctifying their marriage.
The protesters say they motivated by the deeper teachings of the religion and allowing interfaith ceremonies makes a mockery of their faith.
In Coventry, in the middle of England, the home of a Sikh girl who was about to marry a Hindu was attacked on the wedding day - windows of the house were smashed and the couple had to have a police escort to the wedding. Other couples have also had weddings blocked or had to marry in secret.
Hardeep Singh Kohli explores the central tenets of the Sikh faith to consider how they are being interpreted so differently by both sides. Are these recent ructions part of a wider shift towards a more fundamentalist approach to Sikhism or is it down to a younger discerning generation rediscovering a truer purer version of their faith
Presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli
Producer Rajeev Gupta
Image of a Sikh wedding Dino Jeram
Thursday, October 1, 2015 7:00pm
As the monsoon season comes to an end over the next few weeks, it is expected that boatloads of Rohingya Muslims will flee their home in Myanmar forced with other desperate refugees onto dangerously over crowded boats to find safety away from the majority Buddhists who have been waging a violent war against them joining the thousands who have already boarded dangerous vessels to escape thanks in many cases to the traffickers profiting from the shipping of this human cargo.
They have landed in other south-east Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Malaysia.
Jennifer Pak hears from the refugees in their new home, learning of their treacherous journeys and how their faith has helped them as they crossed the ocean. But she finds that many of the new refugees have not been welcomed by the Malaysian government who dont officially recognize refugees nor have they by the people of this Islamic country who largely don’t want them either.
As she meet the refugees, she will explore how this sits with the Islamic idea of ‘Ummah’ that all Muslims are part of one body and if one Muslim is in need of help, then others in the faith should offer it. Is that the case as the world attempts to cope with the massive movement of people due to war and persecution?
By meeting the refugees who have fled Myanmar and witnessing how they have been treated, Jennifer will hear claims that the idea of Ummah that traditionally binds Muslims around the world is being forgotten as more and more refugees seek shelter.
Producer and Presenter Jennifer Pak
Image of a Rohingya refugee boy studying the Qu’ran by Jennifer Pak
Thursday, September 24, 2015 7:00pm
BBC Persian’s Rustam Qobil meets the Muslim Uighurs of Kazakhstan who are living and worshipping miles from their homeland.
Through the net curtains of a rundown apartment in Almaty, Kazakhstan, a Chinese Uighur carefully peers out into the street. For the last two years this window has been his only access to the outside world - he is too afraid to go outside.
He is just one of the thousands of Uighurs who were forced to flee their native Xinjiang when the Chinese secret police started arresting religious Uighur men after violence erupted in the Xinjiang capital - Urumqi. As a practising Muslim he was scared for his life and freedom - so he fled to the closest country - Kazakhstan.
But he has been living illegally in Kazakhstan, and still does not know if he should claim asylum there. This would make him known to the Kazakh authorities who could easily deport him back to China. But living like this, in hiding and relying on fellow Uighurs’ hand-outs, is not a viable long term option either.
Thousands of Uighurs have fled across the Chinese border since relations between the Uighurs and Beijing reached a critical point in the last few years. Violent attacks by the Uighurs and the crackdown on Uighur dissent by the Chinese authorities is making the situation unbearable for many. According to human rights groups, the Chinese authorities have executed hundreds of Uighurs for demanding greater rights, but China calls them terrorists and say that they are fighting against global terror.
Rustam finds out about their mystical, poetic, relatively-liberal brand of Islam.
(Photo: Uigher musicians: Rustam Qobil)
Thursday, September 17, 2015 7:00pm
Pope Francis's recent pronouncements on the world economy, poverty and the environment have led many observers to accuse him, or to celebrate the idea that he is a Communist. For instance the leader of the worlds 1.2bn Roman Catholics has called capitalism, at best, a source of inequality and at worst, a killer.
To mark his much anticipated visit to Cuba and the United States Edward Stourton poses the question 'Is The Pope A Communist?' He will speak to seasoned papal observers, church leaders, economists and the faithful to answer this important question. Edward will explore Francis' background in Latin America and in Catholic Social Teaching to gauge how much this influences him now
There is no doubt that Francis has turned the papacy on its head with some of his actions and statements from his very first days in the Vatican and he has become an icon of the left. But does that mean necessarily the Pope is a communist?
(Photo: Artist's representation of the Pope wearing a black beret on a red background. Designed by Tim Widden)