Richard McKinney has made an extraordinary life journey – from a US veteran who planned to bomb a mosque, to a d Muslim who prays devoutly at the very Mosque he planned for 2 years to blow up.
A veteran of the US Marines, Richard returned traumatised from combat in Afghanistan. That turned into a deep hatred of Islam. At his home in Muncie, Indiana, Richard was producing a device to blow up the town’s Mosque which he hoped will kill 200 people. But he decided to give the community he so hated ‘one more chance’. He visited the Islamic Centre, and was given a Koran to take home and read.
Just eight weeks later, he had converted and within a few years he had become President of the very Mosque he yearned to destroy.
Colm Flynn hears how Richard could have been one of America's most notorious mass murders, but is now a devout Muslim and advocate for peace and understanding.
Producer and Presenter: Colm Flynn
(Photo: Richard McKinney. Credit: Colm Flynn/BBC)
Brexit faith borders
Christian communities along the Irish border are free to worship on either side of it. But some worry that the United Kingdom’s plans to leave the European Union could lead to that coming to an end
The 300-mile-long border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is one of the most contentious stumbling blocks in Britain’s attempts to Brexit. Since the violent sectarian Troubles ended twenty years ago, the border doesn’t actually exist as a physical barrier, and thousands people travel freely across it every day.
Julia Paul meets Christian groups who worship along this invisible divide and hears concerns that changes to the border might reignite sectarian hatred.
Presenter/Producer: Julia Paul
(Photo: Fra and Jonny from 'Youth With A Mission' in Rostrevor in Northern Ireland)
100 Women: Assmaah Helal
Growing up as a hijab-wearing football fan in Sydney, Australia wasn’t easy for Assmaah Helal. From an early age she has worn the hijab and played football. She tells us how she was already self-conscious about this outward symbol of her faith, so to play in a football match wearing it was a big deal.
Assmaah now uses her love of football to help refugees, new migrants and socially disadvantaged children in Sydney, and she speaks to them for Heart and Soul, as part of the BBC's 100 Women season, about the struggle to fit in in Australia today.
She tells us about her fight with the governing body of world football to overturn the ban on players wearing the hijab, and winning.
Presenter: Assmaah Helal
Producer: Phil Mercer
Image: Phil Mercer
To see the 2019 list of the BBC's 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world go to www.bbc.co.uk/100women or on Facebook @BBC100Women
100 Women: Chely Wright
To come out as gay while part of the Christian church and country music is a brave thing to do.
As a teenager in deeply Christian Kansas, Chely Wright thought praying would ‘fix her’ and she would be able to lead ‘a normal life’.
In the second of three programmes for Heart and Soul as part of the BBC’s 100 Women season, Chely shares her life, explaining the massive conflict between her sexuality and her faith.
Her faith is still strong and in her New York City home she talks about how it has been a constant part of her life since she was girl on the family farm. But she feared that her career in country music would be over, and for the 100 Women season she will tell us about her hopes for the future and how Christianity as a whole will be more accepting.
Presenter: Chely Wright
Producer: Geoff Bird
Image: Chely Wright (Credit: Michael Schwartz/Getty Images)
To see the full list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2019, go to www.bbc.co.uk/100women or on Facebook @BBC100Women
100 Women: Venerable Dhammananda
She is called ‘the rebel monk’, but has also been called a ‘dangerous dissident’ – one of the few female monks who say they are simply carrying on a tradition started by Lord Buddha thousands of years ago. The Venerable Dhammananda is the first Thai woman to be ordained as a female monk in the deeply conservative Theravada Buddhist tradition.
Heart and Soul joins the ‘100 Women’ season running across the BBC to profile three women all making a huge impact in their field.
All the programmes are led by the subjects and Dhammananda leads us on her journey from mother of three, to TV host and academic, to wearing the saffron robes of a traditional Buddhist monk as the Abbess of the all-female Songdhammakalyani Monastery, and the role she has taken up as fighter for spiritual equality.
She tells us about the patriarchal faith and that she sees herself as a “change agent” encouraging women to make the most of their spiritual potential,
Women offer a new spiritual perspective she says that all of Buddhism can benefit from
Presenter: The Venerable Dhammananda
Producer: Aurora Almendral
Image: Aurora Almendral
To see the full list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2019, go to
www.bbc.co.uk/100women or on Facebook @BBC100Women