Monday, April 25, 2016 11:37am
Deep in the heart of Catholic Spain there has been a dispute that has lasted for centuries over a Mosque, the Great Mosque, or for others the great Cathedral of Cordoba, which carries on to this day. Once a small Christian temple, then a major medieval Islamic haven of worship, it was converted into a Christian cathedral in the 13th century.
Helen Grady joins Muslim travellers on their journey to Cordoba – a focus of their Islamic faith on the European mainland despite a growing animosity towards them and banning of Muslim prayers at the site. Local activists voice their concerns over the renaming of the mosque the Cordoba Cathedral and accuse the Catholic church of ‘a land grab’. They claim the church is intent on erasing Spain’s long Muslim heritage and fear this will jeopardise the delicately balanced relationship between the two great faiths in Europe.
As Europe continues to debate its current relationship with Islam, Spain has attempted to position itself as a symbol of interfaith harmony and a major destination for Muslim tourism and business. However, Cordoba's Mosque-Cathedral has become a focal point for the increasingly fierce dispute over how Spain's Islamic past should inform its present and future.
But for the people of Cordoba the beautiful imposing building is the focus of their deep faith where every day they come to pray to their God. It is through these ordinary people that Helen hears about the importance of the Mosque-Cathedral.
(Picture: Kierin, Shabnab and Nabila - visitors to the Mosque Cathedral from the UK. By Cesar Dezfuli)
Friday, April 15, 2016 11:00am
In recent years, hundreds of thousands of Dalit Hindus - the lowest of the complex Indian society’s structure - have been leaving their faith and converting to Buddhism. There are 150 million Dalits in India, but they are neither seen nor heard. Changing their religion makes them visible. They will hide their roots, give up their name, and change their religion, all in an effort to escape from their caste.
India’s Dalits are reconciling their religious conversion by referencing the most prominent Dalit in India and architect of the Indian’s Constitution, Bhim Rao Ambedkar. Six weeks before he died in 1951 Ambedkar said publicly Hinduism would not let Dalits live in dignity so he would convert to Buddhism. Sunita also meets those Dalits who have chosen not to convert, adamant a faithful life in the present will be rewarded by birth into a higher caste in the next.
In January a Dalit student, Rohith Vermula killed himself placing the status of Dalits further under the microscope. Sunita meets Rohith’s mother who plans to convert to Buddhism just as her son was in the process of doing when he died.
(Caption: An activist of the Bhaujan Vidyarthy Sangha (BVS) holds a poster of Hyderabad University student Rohit Vemula, who committed suicide last month, during a protest staged against Karnataka government demanding jobs for caste members in the private sector in Bangalore on February 3, 2016. Rohit Vemula, a 26-year-old doctoral student at the university of Hyderabad, was found hanged on January 17, triggering protests in the southern city and New Delhi. He was one of five students, all from India's lowest Dalit social caste, to be suspended by the university after they were accused of assaulting the head of a right-wing student political group -- a charge they denied. AFP PHOTO / Manjunath KIRAN / AFP / MANJUNATH KIRAN / Getty Images)
Saturday, April 9, 2016 8:50pm
In the days after the attacks on Paris, Mohammed Chirani – a French-Algerian – went on live French TV to tell supporters of so-called Islamic State that Allah would not protect them. "Know that our dead, the innocent French citizens, are in paradise and your dead, the terrorists, are in hell." He was, he went on, “waging war on them with the Koran”, challenging the extremists' interpretation of Islam verse by verse.
John Laurenson meets Chirani to learn how he aims to tackle the problem of radicalisation of Muslims in France where it is at its most dangerous: behind the walls of the countries prisons. Approximately 50% of France’s prison inmates are Muslims. According to Chirani, “prisons are the breeding ground for radicalisation.” He aims to combat this with what he calls the “jihad of witness”
John explores how young Muslims who end up in prison and start to study the extreme version of Islam tend to follow the same pattern of behaviour from an early age.
He also hears from a former inmate who has been through the French prison system to explore how the issue of radicalisation behind bars is being addressed.
Saturday, April 2, 2016 10:00pm
How do you tell a mother that her 13-year-old daughter has been killed in a car crash? Or a young wife that the father of her unborn child will never come home? Or the parents of a soldier that their son has been maimed on the battlefield?
Every day in Britain, police officers have to perform this most difficult of tasks. And every day, families receive that knock at the door which means their lives will never be the same again.
Vin Ray hears powerful first-hand testimony from both sides of this terrible equation - the police and army officers charged with breaking the worst possible news to unsuspecting families, and the families themselves. Among those we meet are Helen Hughes, the mother of a teenager killed by a speeding driver, and Steve Chaplain, the officer who knocked at her door; Thanna al-Ghabban, whose husband Mohammed died in a motorcycle accident less than a year after their wedding; and Mike Griffiths, a former senior army officer who lost his soldier son.
Handled the right way, a “knock” conversation can help the receiver come to terms with the terrible news. So, Vin Ray asks, what is the right way of telling someone that a loved one has been killed, and how do you deal with unexpected responses – from shock to outright violence? What does it do to an officer to have to deliver traumatic news again and again? And how can faith help both sides deal with such a devastating experience?
(Photo: Police officers knock at a door. Credit: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)