The status and role of women in Mosques in the United Kingdom is changing. Traditionally playing a secondary role, groups here now are training women to be more active in their religious communities and to help run Mosques.
Samira Ahmed meets the young British Muslims who are taking on new roles to find out why they want to do it, and how it will alter religious communities.
Samira asks whether this greater say in the organisation of Mosques mean a greater influence on the faith itself, where does God fit in with these plans and whether this is just satisfying a western liberal ideas, can there be a time when women will lead mixed prayer, do Muslim women really want other women guiding them through their faith?
She will meet the young Muslims from the Inclusive Mosque Initiative exploring their faith and the role of women in it, forming new ideas about their religion, on, they hope. their own terms.
Presenter: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Lindsay Leonard
Image: Muslim Council of Britain
Fighting Prejudice in Eudy’s Name
***Listeners may find some of the material in this programme upsetting.***
A grieving mother, Mally Simelane, is fighting to change her community’s view on homosexuality. Mally lives in the Kwa-Thema township near Johannesburg, where several gay women, including her daughter Eudy, have been murdered.
Audrey Brown meets Mally, as well as her Pastor Smadz Matsepe, who have united to use their faith to fight cultural homophobia.
South Africa was the first country in Africa to allow same sex marriage, and Audrey will explore how those rights haven’t necessarily translated into the real lives of poor women.
Eudy played soccer for the South African national team, the Banyana Banyana, and Audrey hears from her teammates as they watch the 2018 World Cup to find out more about the lives of young gay women in the townships, and to Mally about the role of God in fighting for justice in her daughter’s name.
Producer and Presenter: Audrey Brown
Photo: Eudy Simelane’s parents sat at the bridge named in their daughter’s honour Credit: BBC
Faith in Freedom: Daniel Genis
John McCarthy meets the people who have had to confront their own beliefs while held captive.
Born into a Jewish family, but a committed atheist, Daniel Genis had an eventful life which led him to drug addiction, crime and then 10 years in one of Americas most notorious prisons. His time there meant he had time to explore his faith, plus the array of faiths of his fellow prisoners.
As he saw out his sentences he keenly observed the role religion plays in prison, how many prisoners adopted a faith, many were open to faith because of their situation. Priests, Rabbis and Imams were more than eager to try and help them.
In episode two of the series, he tells John McCarthy how his own ‘beliefs’ helped him, and how it shaped his idea of a God's role in prison.
Presenter: John McCarthy
Producer: Geoff Bird
(Photo credit: Daniel Genis)
Faith in Freedom: Maryam and Marziyeh
John McCarthy meets people who have had to confront their own beliefs while held captive. John who was held hostage by Islamic radical groups in Lebanon, speaks to two Iranian women who risked torture in one of the world’s most notorious prisons after being convicted of apostasy for spreading the message of Christianity in their strictly Islamic home country.
Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh were known as the ‘dirty Christians’ in Evin prison where they suffered horrendous conditions and witnessed daily abuse. But this did not stop them from sharing the Gospel within the prison.
But what the authorities didn't know was that they had distributed approximately twenty thousand bibles they had given out before they were sent to Evin.
They now live in the US, and despite the daily horrors they witnessed, Maryam and Marziyeh see Evin as a church – somewhere they were placed by God to spread the word. But John will ask about their work now in a country where there is freedom to pray and preach.
Presenter: John McCarthy
Producer: Geoff Bird
Faith in Freedom
Helen Berhane has the type of voice that you may think could only have come from God. There was a long time though when the only people who could hear her were her captors and the fellow inmates of the shipping container that was her gaol.
In fact it was her singing that led to her being imprisoned, beaten and abused in her native Eritrea, after she refused to put a stop to her evangelising. In this first episode of Faith In Freedom, Helen tells John McCarthy about those two years of imprisonment and how she refused to denounce her faith.