Thursday, November 19, 2015 6:00pm
In 1717, three Brazilian fishermen prayed to The Virgin Mary to help them overcome a run of empty nets. Afterwards, they threw their nets over one more time and pulled up not only more fish than they could deal with, but also a statue of Mary herself. That statue is considered the most important relic in the country and is visited by millions of Brazilian Catholics every year in its home of Aparecida, just north of Sao Paolo.
In the past few years more and more pilgrims have travelled to the city to pray at the statue by way of one of the world’s newest pilgrimage routes, the Caminho da Fe (Path of Faith). Bob Walker, a veteran of many of the world’s most famous pilgrimage walks, takes to the Caminho da Fe to find out more why it is so important to Brazilian Catholics even though the walk itself was only started in 2003, and how it compares to pilgrimages such as the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Along his 308-mile way he encounters wild dogs, torrential rain and tough unforgiving terrain.
Bob Walker speaks to the pilgrims he meets on the route and discovers that Catholicism, for so long the religion of virtually all Brazilians, is now under threat from a new, colourful Pentecostalism.
The Long of Walk of Faith was walked, presented and produced by Bob Walker.
(Photo: Bob Walker's self-taken shadow on the route)
Thursday, November 12, 2015 6:00pm
**This epidsode of Heart and Soul may contain some descriptions and references which some listeners could find offensive.**
Can Muslims talk openly about sex? The Muslim Sex Doctor captures counselling sessions between an Imam in the north of England working as a sex therapist, and his clients, offering a unique insight into a world which for the majority of Muslims in the UK is not explored at all.
Mobeen Azhar follows Imam Alyas Karmani to discover what issues affect the community and how he is attempting to alter the way in which sex problems are discussed and remedied. He is based in the city of Bradford, one of the most multi-cultural parts of the UK with almost a quarter of the people who live there Muslim.
Imam Karmani is also Psychologist and is a man on a mission. He offers a bespoke service dealing with everything from masturbation to the Islamic stance on S and M and discovering the 'joy of Muslim sex'. Through Imam Alyas's counselling Mobeen is given a valuable insight into a community that just doesn't talk about sex. He will unpack the impact of unspoken desire and through this, develops a whole new understanding of the unspoken lives of the Muslim community in modern Britain.
(Photo: Imam Alyas Karmani. Credit: Mobeen Azhar)
Thursday, November 5, 2015 6:00pm
Founded 220 years ago, the Orange Order is a Protestant organisation which, its members say, stands for civil liberties, fraternity and faith. However in the divided society of Northern Ireland it is rarely out of the news. Many Irish Nationalists and Republicans view it as an anti-Catholic, triumphalist organisation and disputes over some contentious Orange parades have generated headlines around the world.
What is less well known is that three thousand miles away there are Orange lodges made up of African men and women. Members of the Orange Order in Ghana share the same emblems and follow the same rituals as their brethren in Northern Ireland. While there may not be sectarian conflict in their homeland, the Orangemen on the Equator feel they too are misrepresented and misunderstood.
Chris Page travels to West Africa to find out how the Orange Order took root there. Comparing the African brand of Orangeism to that found in his native Northern Ireland, he peers into the soul of an organisation which has been characterised by its ability to survive. While members in Ulster say they have been demonised by Irish Nationalists opposed to their Unionism, their counterparts in Ghana describe their challenges in the face of prejudice from churches and wider society.
(Photo: Members of the Orange Order, Ghana, courtesy of Connor Garrett/Chris Page)