Heart And Soul

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20090502

In 2008 the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, announced the launch of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

The aim of the organisation is to encourage different faith traditions to work together towards common goals and to show through education that religion can be a force for good in our globalised world.

In a two part series for Heart and Soul, Christopher Landau, the BBC's Religious Affairs Correspondent, has been given exclusive access to Tony Blair as he sets up the Foundation.

In this week's programme he travels to Mali in West Africa to look at how the Foundation plans to take on one of the Millennium Development Goals – the eradication of malaria.

But how achievable is this goal and how difficult will it be to get the faith communities to work together to fight malaria?

How achievable are Tony Blair's plans to promote inter-faith collaboration?

20090516
20090523

Song of the Scallop

Song of the Scallop considers the history and mythology of the humble mollusc.

As a global food-source and as a religious symbol, the significance of scallops transcends the ash trays and soap dishes that they are often turned into.

The route of the 9th century Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage - or Way of St James - in north west Spain is marked by scallop shells and each pilgrim carries a shell for good luck.

We join two pilgrims - Jim, a fisherman, and his wife Margaret - who are travelling this Galician route.

Their testimony is woven together with the experiences of scallop divers in Scotland and the artist Maggi Hambling, who made a scallop sculpture for the beach at Aldeburgh.

The meaning and symbolism - the culinary and religious significance - of the scallop is celebrated as the pilgrims make the long walk to a final dinner on arrival in Santiago de Compostela.

20090530
20090531
20090606
20090607
20090613
20090627

Marion Dante's account of her experience as a Salesian nun and her difficulty in adapti.

Marion Dante's account of her experience as a Salesian nun and her difficulty in adapting to the secular world on leaving.

20090704

Mark Tully talks to the Dalai Lama about tensions between his spiritual primacy and his political role.

Mark Tully talks to the Dalai Lama about tensions between his spiritual primacy and his.

20090711

Nick Baker explores what it means to be Jewish and not believe in God.

He loves Jewish food, films, and literature, and he has what he feels is a typically Jewish love of debate.

Yet Nick Baker feels unsure about his Jewish identity because one key ingredient is missing: he doesn't believe in God.

In this programme, he meets secular and religious Jews from Israel, the US, and Britain to find out how they understand the idea of secular or cultural Judaism - and whether he could opt out of the faith altogether.

And he explores whether other faiths - like Islam - have a similar secular identity alongside the religious one.

Nick Baker, son of a Jewish mother but who doesn't believe in God, discovers what it me.

Nick Baker, son of a Jewish mother but who doesn't believe in God, discovers what it means to be a secular or cultural Jew.

20090822

The Hebrew scriptures say that the sins of the fathers will be visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations.

For German journalist and writer Uwe von Seltmann, this has been a lifelong painful reality.

Challenged by an unknown Jewish man at a synagogue in Krakow in Poland, he began to research his grandfather's Nazi past - and discovered that he had participated in one the greatest atrocities of the Holocaust.

Join Michael Ford as he discovers how Uwe has dealt with the guilt and shame handed down to him by his grandfather - and how it happened that he fell in love with Gabi, the Polish granddaughter of a man who was killed at Auschwitz concentration camp.

If your grandfather was a mass murderer, could you handle the guilt and shame?

Uwe's grandfather was a Nazi stormtrooper who took part in the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto.

We follow Uwe's atonement.

Uwe's grandfather was a Nazi stormtrooper who took part in the liquidation of the Warsa.

20090829

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

Exploring the impact of a new scheme in Morocco, which trains women as 'Morchidat', hoping to create a more tolerant Islam.

Exploring the impact of a new scheme in Morocco, which trains women as 'Morchidat', hop.

20090905

Hallelujah, halleluyah, or alleluia, is THE word to express joy.

It has been sung by the Jews and Christians and has resonated with Muslims since the practice of singing praise to God began.

It's the most musical word that exists: It has inspired composers and songwriters from King David the psalmist almost three thousand years ago, European composers of the 17th and 18th centuries - Monteverdi, Handel, and Vivaldi, Gospel singers and of course American singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen.

In Heart and Soul, British composer Jocelyn Pook explores the music and meaning of Hallelujah and in the course of the programme composes a new piece of music to celebrate the word.

Hallelujah really is a remarkable word.

In the Bible, it appears in the book of Psalms; yet this exuberant exclamation of joy and gratitude has survived the passage of centuries, transcending the barriers of language and culture.

According to the ancient Jewish Talmud, Hallelujah is the most sublime expression of God's praise, combining together in one word both praise (hallel) and God's Name (the two-letter Name 'Ya-H).

The verb halal literally means "to shine" and in ancient Hebrew is often used to describe stars.

In essence, Hallelujah means: shine with God.

In ancient Arabic, also a Semitic language, Hallel is to “shout with joy”.

In the English language it follows the Greek, "alleluia".

"Let sin be finished from the earth, and evil be no more.

My soul will bless God, Hallelujah!" Psalm 104

Hallelujah, the word and its musical magnificence, presented by composer Jocelyn Pook".

20090912

What does faith have to do with the global financial crisis? Quite a lot, as Richard Cole discovers in this programme.

As part of our Aftershock season, Richard Coles finds out why the credit crunch has encouraged Muslims and Jews to join hands with Christians in London.

He hears from a priest in Coloumbia who's struggling to keep his work with street children going despite falling revenue caused by the fall of the British pound against other currencies.

And on the margins of the Soul Fest Christian music festival in New Hampshire, he asks whether a faith perspective could really be powerful enough to change the global economic system.

What does faith have to do with the global finance crisis? Richard Cole investigates.

20090919

At a time of global recession, politicians say we must consume more to save our economies.

But religious leaders condemn greed and excess and remind us of the value of poverty.

In Heart and Soul Ernie Rea and his guests discuss whether adopting poverty as a spiritual practice can have advantages.

Can spiritual fulfilment be found in wealth and possessions or should these be given away in pursuit of higher goals?

Lively debate with Rabbi Jackie Tabick, the first female reform rabbi in the UK, Dr Atul Shah, former editor of a magazine on Jainism and Richard D North, author of the book ‘Rich is beautiful: a very Personal Defence of Mass Affluence'.

Poverty as a spiritual practice.

Is it beneficial to self and society?

20090926

It's four hundred years since Galileo created the first telescope and changed the way we view the stars.

2009 has been designated the International Year of Astronomy in tribute to his achievement.

Four centuries ago the Catholic church reacted by locking up Galileo for treason, but now the Vatican has its own high-tech observatory, on a mountain top outside Tucson, USA.

Matt Mcgrath meets the band of Jesuit priests who are conducting their own research into the heavens, to find out what would happen if they found life on other planets.

As astronomers push the boundaries of space research, it may only be a matter of decades before we find we're neither unique, nor alone.

And if that happens what are the implications for religion?

Would the discovery of ET confirm the greatness of God, or prove too challenging for some faiths' world view?

Heart and Soul explores how both religion and science are trying to cope with the concept of life being common in the cosmos.

Is there alien life on other planets, and what are the implications for world religions?

How different religions view the world beyond and the implications for what it means to be 'in God's image'.

How different religions view the world beyond and the implications for what it means to.

20091003

Identical twin sisters, brought up in a non-religious household, have, as adults, embraced religion.

But where Caroline has become a Christian, Elizabeth has become Muslim.

In Twin Sisters, Two Faiths, the sisters talk frankly to Anna Scott-Brown about their childhood home, their strongly held, but separate beliefs, the paths their lives have taken to bring them to their religious beliefs, and reflect on how this affects their relationship within the family.

Annie, their mother, provides a third thread to the programme.

She is fighting her own battle against lung cancer, which focuses Elizabeth and Caroline's thoughts on what their faith means to each of them and how they are facing their mother's imminent death.

But this edition of Heart and Soul is not about death.

Instead it is about how one family lives with some of the most marked divisions of our time.

The two sisters describe their own faiths with remarkable eloquence and, with a lightness of touch, highlight some of the tensions and difficulties of living faith-led" lives in Britain today.

Identical twin sisters chose to follow two very different faiths, Islam & Christianity.

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.".

20091010

The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God in Islam

In Heart and Soul this week, Muslims from different backgrounds reflect on the Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of Allah – names which, in the Islamic understanding, highlight different aspects or qualities of the Divine.

To the faithful, they can be a key that unlocks the meaning of life, or an incentive to overcome their own weaknesses.

The practice of repeating and chanting these names is particularly important to Sufis, followers of the mystical branch of Islam.

Moderate Mulsims are challenging fundamentalists and the context is being played out on.

Moderate Mulsims are challenging fundamentalists and the context is being played out on satellite TV channels.

20091017

Frank Faulk goes on a Biblically Correct Tour and sees an encounter between an evolutio...

Frank Faulk goes on a Biblically Correct Tour and sees an encounter between an evolutionist and a creationist in Denver.

A paleontologist and a Christian creationist disagree about fossil exhibits at a museum

At the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in the United States, Bill Jack, a Christian creationist takes schoolchildren on 'Biblically Correct Tours'.

These offer a literal, Biblical interpretation of all that is displayed, from fossils to the disappearance of the dinosaurs.

And Bill teaches that answers to all questions about how we got here can be found in the Old Testament of the Bible in the book of Genesis.

Kirk Johnson is a paleontologist at the museum, with evolution at the heart of all he does in his study of prehistoric life through fossils.

Kirk decides that the time has come to talk to Bill about their different approaches to understanding the past.

This year has seen celebrations to mark two hundred years since the birth of the scientist Charles Darwin, whose work laid the foundations for the theory of evolution.

In Heart and Soul this week Frank Faulk of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation joins a group of schoolchildren on one of Bill Jack's Biblically Correct Tours at the museum and is there for the encounter between evolutionist and creationist.

20091118

Through the eyes of Berlin's new Jews, Kristine Pommert portrays the Jewish community i.

Through the eyes of Berlin's new Jews, Kristine Pommert portrays the Jewish community in what used to be Hitler's capital.

20100106

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

20100113

The Whoop is a musical, emotional method of preaching.

An African American preaching s.

An African American preaching style, called singing the sermon".".

20100120

Naomi Gryn, daughter of the late Rabbi Hugo Gryn goes to Mumbai to see what has become.

Naomi Gryn, daughter of the late Rabbi Hugo Gryn goes to Mumbai to see what has become of the Jews of India.

2010030320100306

There are thousands of Buddhist temples scattered across Japan and most have huge bronze bells – bonshou – which are cherished and revered.

This week's Heart and Soul captures the physical and symbolic power of these bells.

And they are awesome, some weighing more than thirty tons.

They are struck on the side by a suspended tree trunk, swung by teams of up to twenty monks.

Some are ancient – one bell featured was cast in the year 752.

Casting a large bell in bronze is a perilous business with a high chance of failure, and Ikko Iwasawa who runs the foundry which cast the largest bell in Japan explains the mystery and ritual as a new bell is being cast.

The head priest of Rengein Monastery, whose bell can be heard 30 miles away, reveals their spiritual meaning and the impact they have on people.

The programme weaves Japanese haiku poems and interviews with the sounds of famous bells in the cities and countryside, each with its unique voice.

Producer: Julian May

Above: Priest of the temple where the bell will be hung leading prayers during the casting ceremony

The sounds of Japan's Buddhist temple bells and the place they have in people's hearts.

This week's Heart and Soul captures the physical and symbolic power of bonshu - the hug.

2010030320100304

This week's Heart and Soul captures the physical and symbolic power of bonshu - the hug.

This week's Heart and Soul captures the physical and symbolic power of bonshu - the huge, bronze Buddhist temple bells in Japan.

20100310

Rabbi Naftali Brawer explores the Jewish prayer for the dead

Jews throughout the world recite a special prayer, the Mourner's Kaddish, following the death of a parent.

Join Rabbi Naftali Brawer as he explores the history and meaning of what is one of the most significant prayers in Judaism – and one that is full of intriguing contradictions.

It's the prayer for the dead, yet it never mentions death.

It's an intensely personal communication with God, but it's meant to be said in public.

And although the words were drafted in the 2nd century BC, it's possible that it became popular during the Middle Ages because of a medieval ghost story.

Hear from people who have recently said Kaddish and reflect on how this prayer has helped them deal with their shock and grief.

Above: US-born Rabbi Naftali Brawer works at a synagogue near London.

20100421

Edward Stourton reports on 'a campaign of liquidation' against Iraq's religious minorit...

Edward Stourton reports on 'a campaign of liquidation' against Iraq's religious minorities since the invasion of 2003.

20100505

Peter Stanford asks what people are looking for away from the bustle of daily life, exp.

Peter Stanford asks what people are looking for away from the bustle of daily life, exploring the spiritual value of silence.

20100512

Islam expert Roger Hardy travels to Glasgow to meet the Muslim community and find out h.

Islam expert Roger Hardy travels to Glasgow to meet the Muslim community and find out how being Muslim sits with being Scottish.

20100609
20100616

Richard Coles explores the role faith plays in football and asks how realistic it is to.

Richard Coles explores the role faith plays in football and asks how realistic it is to expect football to be secular.

20100714

There are thousands of Buddhist temples in Japan and most have huge bronze bells, bonsh.

There are thousands of Buddhist temples in Japan and most have huge bronze bells, bonshou, which are cherished and revered.

2010080420100805
20100811

Edward Stourton examines claims that the tolerance which moral relativism is supposed t.

Edward Stourton examines claims that the tolerance which moral relativism is supposed to foster has turned into a new extremism.

20100818

Razia Iqbal takes a fresh look at the rich oral and artistic traditions surrounding the.

Razia Iqbal takes a fresh look at the rich oral and artistic traditions surrounding the Quran - the holy book of Islam.

20100929
20101006

Zaiba Malik explores the work, and the social revolution, of the Mourchidat - female Mu.

Zaiba Malik explores the work, and the social revolution, of the Mourchidat - female Muslim leaders in Morocco.

20101013

Jessica Alpert discovers The Whoop - a musical, emotional, non-intellectual method of p.

Jessica Alpert discovers The Whoop - a musical, emotional, non-intellectual method of preaching the Word of God.

20101020

Rabbi Naftali Brawer explores the history and meaning of the Mourners Kaddish, the Jewi.

Rabbi Naftali Brawer explores the history and meaning of the Mourners Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

20101027

Matt Wells explores how the Tea Party movement in the US may affect the traditional Chr.

Matt Wells explores how the Tea Party movement in the US may affect the traditional Christian influence on conservative politics.

20101103

Andres Schipani reports on a colourful collision of ancient indigenous ritual with Cath.

Andres Schipani reports on a colourful collision of ancient indigenous ritual with Catholicism in La Paz, involving human skulls.

20101124

A new spiritual focus on lifestyle changes that reduce personal consumption and carbon.

A new spiritual focus on lifestyle changes that reduce personal consumption and carbon footprint, termed "Eco-Asceticism".

20101215

Francis Spufford looks at how Bede, an obscure English monk from the 8th century, shape.

Francis Spufford looks at how Bede, an obscure English monk from the 8th century, shaped the history of Christianity.

20101222

Step-parenting has become far more common, but has it become any easier emotionally to.

Step-parenting has become far more common, but has it become any easier emotionally to bring up another man's child?

20101229

Chaplain Thomas Dyer converted to Buddhism, and became first Buddhist chaplain in the A.

Chaplain Thomas Dyer converted to Buddhism, and became first Buddhist chaplain in the American military.

20110119

Tim Winter goes in search of the truth behind Abdullah Quilliam, the solicitor who buil.

Tim Winter goes in search of the truth behind Abdullah Quilliam, the solicitor who built Britain's first mosque.

20110126

Nick Thorpe looks at Hungarian plans to help the Roma help themselves, and it's the chu.

Nick Thorpe looks at Hungarian plans to help the Roma help themselves, and it's the churches that are to play a decisive role.

20110302

Jane Little meets women who have broken the mould of male dominance in religion - inclu.

Jane Little meets women who have broken the mould of male dominance in religion - including a female Hindu priest.

20110323

Paul Bakibinga asks how former child soldiers abducted by the Lords Resistance Army can.

Paul Bakibinga asks how former child soldiers abducted by the Lords Resistance Army can be helped to overcome their trauma.

20110409

The Dalai Lama in conversation, about stepping down as Tibet's political leader, who will succeed him, and his life's work.

The Dalai Lama in conversation, about stepping down as Tibet's political leader, who wi.

2011041620110418

Why take on a religion which doesn’t encourage converts? New Jews give their reasons

Judaism does not encourage converts - so why do people tread the arduous path of studyi.

Judaism does not encourage converts - so why do people tread the arduous path of studying to become a Jew? Judi Herman reports.

20110521

After marching together against President Mubarak, what's the future for relations between Coptic Christians & Muslims in Egypt?

After marching together against President Mubarak, what's the future for relations betw.

20110528

Chris Bowlby explores the history and present concerns of the worldwide Methodist movement.

Chris Bowlby explores the history and present concerns of the worldwide Methodist movem.

20110716

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss this seminal text of Hinduism, in which Krishna teaches Prince Arjuna how to live his life.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss this seminal text of Hinduism, in which Krishna teaches.

20110723

A look at how people in Australia are employing Buddhist ethics and practices in their workplaces to make work more satisfying.

A look at how people in Australia are employing Buddhist ethics and practices in their.

20110730

A spiritual journey along the River Ganges collecting sounds & stories from among the 400 million who live and work on its banks

A spiritual journey along the River Ganges collecting sounds & stories from among the 4.

20110806
20110813

Tim Judah is in Senegal to meet the Mourides, a powerful Senegalese Muslim brotherhood that stresses the importance of work.

Tim Judah is in Senegal to meet the Mourides, a powerful Senegalese Muslim brotherhood.

20111105

Jane Little reports on the crisis at St Paul's Cathedral in London following the protes.

Jane Little reports on the crisis at St Paul's Cathedral in London following the protests by groups opposed to corporate excess.

20120128

Jane Little meets Holocaust survivors and hears their stories of courage and resilience.

Jane Little meets Holocaust survivors and hears their stories of courage and resilience, and their amazing capacity for humour.

20120211

Many Afro-Caribbean Christians in Britain shun the Church of England, preferring majori.

Many Afro-Caribbean Christians in Britain shun the Church of England, preferring majority black churches. Is racism the reason?

2012051920120521

Christopher Landau asks if there is a third way to resolve the divisive debate over how the church should treat homosexuals.

Christopher Landau asks if there is a third way to resolve the divisive debate over how.

2012051920120520

Christopher Landau asks if there is a third way to resolve the divisive debate over how.

Christopher Landau asks if there is a third way to resolve the divisive debate over how the church should treat homosexuals.

2012062320120624

Gary Younge visits Birmingham Alabama, to hear the story of a Welsh sculptor's response.

Gary Younge visits Birmingham Alabama, to hear the story of a Welsh sculptor's response to an anti-civil rights bombing.

2012063020120701

Hardeep Singh Kohli joins Nidar Singh Nihang, Sikh master of the ancient martial art Sh.

Hardeep Singh Kohli joins Nidar Singh Nihang, Sikh master of the ancient martial art Shastar Vidiya, in search of a successor.

20130831

Jonah Fisher asks why Burmese Buddhists and Muslims have become enemies, and why Buddhist peace has transformed into violence.

2013090720130908 (WS)

Maliki Islam is a mystical faith, encompassing myths and magic. Andrew Hussey explores...

Maliki Islam is a mystical faith, encompassing myths and magic. Andrew Hussey explores this moderate form of Islam.

2013113020131201 (WS)
20131202 (WS)

Jane Little meets Joshua DuBois who each morning for five years sent President Obama da...

Jane Little meets Joshua DuBois who each morning for five years sent President Obama daily spirituals, prayers and reflections.

2013122120131222 (WS)
20131223 (WS)

Sarah Rainsford explores how the Catholic church is becoming the only body confident en...

Sarah Rainsford explores how the Catholic church is becoming the only body confident enough to challenge authorities in Cuba.

20140315

Mark Dowd looks at the place of the confessional in modern Catholic faith.

2014032220140323 (WS)

Australia's Aboriginal Islamic community is growing quickly. Janak Rogers asks why are...

Australia's Aboriginal Islamic community is growing quickly. Janak Rogers asks why are indigenous people being drawn to Islam?

2014032920140330 (WS)

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

2014050320140504 (WS)
20140505 (WS)
20140506 (WS)

Matt Wells investigates some religious leaders’ strict authority within New York’s clos...

Matt Wells investigates some religious leaders’ strict authority within New York’s close knit ultra-Orthodox enclaves.

2014051020140511 (WS)
20140512 (WS)
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Cathy FitzGerald explores how Prabhjot Singh, a Sikh doctor in New York, was attacked b...

Cathy FitzGerald explores how Prabhjot Singh, a Sikh doctor in New York, was attacked by racists - and forgave them.

20140607

Khalid Latif is the Muslim chaplain to New York University and New York police. We foll...

Khalid Latif is the Muslim chaplain to New York University and New York police. We follow a day in his life as a faith leader.

2014061420140615 (WS)

Will Grant meets Padre Alberto Gauci - a very unconventional priest for whom football i...

Will Grant meets Padre Alberto Gauci - a very unconventional priest for whom football is more than just a game.

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A Malaysian court recently banned Christians from using the word Allah to refer to God -

A Malaysian court recently banned Christians from using the word Allah to refer to God -

A Malaysian court recently banned Christians from using the word Allah to refer to God. Jennifer Pak reports on the dispute.

2014070520140706 (WS)
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Lucy Williamson looks at what we think innocence is in the 21st century, and how this s...

Lucy Williamson looks at what we think innocence is in the 21st century, and how this shapes childhood in the UK and South Korea

2014071920140720 (WS)

Jake Wallis-Simons explores the work of The 45 Aid Society, a group made up of children...

Jake Wallis-Simons explores the work of The 45 Aid Society, a group made up of children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors

2014081620140817 (WS)
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20140819 (WS)

Catrin Nye explores the history of caliphates and hears opinion on the declaration of a...

Catrin Nye explores the history of caliphates and hears opinion on the declaration of a new Islamic state in Iraq.

2014090620140907 (WS)

Hardeep Singh Kohli follows the campaign trail to have Maharaja Duleep Singh's remains...

Hardeep Singh Kohli follows the campaign trail to have Maharaja Duleep Singh's remains exhumed and returned to India.

2014091320140914 (WS)
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Dr Robert Beckford explores how the Ethiopian King came to be worshipped by the Rastafa...

Dr Robert Beckford explores how the Ethiopian King came to be worshipped by the Rastafari community as a living god.

2014092020140921 (WS)
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Anna McNamee investigates the unexpected generation of young Poles that have become int...

Anna McNamee investigates the unexpected generation of young Poles that have become intent on discovering their Jewish roots.

20141011

Janak Rogers is in the Philippines to look at the religion of the Iglesia ni Cristo, an...

Janak Rogers is in the Philippines to look at the religion of the Iglesia ni Cristo, and the influence the church is building.

2014101820141019 (WS)

Jane Little talks to neurosurgeon Dr Eben Alexander about the near death experience whi...

Jane Little talks to neurosurgeon Dr Eben Alexander about the near death experience which turned him from sceptic to believer.

2014110120141102 (WS)

Nashville, Tennessee is known as the home of country music. But its biggest industry, n...

Nashville, Tennessee is known as the home of country music. But its biggest industry, next to health care, is religious music.

02/03/201120110303

Jane Little meets women who have broken the mould of male dominance in religion - inclu.

03/03/201020100307

The sounds of Japan's Buddhist temple bells and the place they have in people's hearts.

This week's Heart and Soul captures the physical and symbolic power of bonshu - the hug.

03/09/201120110904

Iranian Karin Zarindast visits the US to examine its complex relationship with Islam an.

Iranian Karin Zarindast visits the US to examine its complex relationship with Islam and how US Muslims express their faith,.

03/09/201120110905

Iranian Karin Zarindast visits the US to examine its complex relationship with Islam an.

03/10/200920091004

Identical twin sisters chose to follow two very different faiths, Islam & Christianity.

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

03/11/201020101104

Andres Schipani reports on a colourful collision of ancient indigenous ritual with Cath.

04/06/201120110605

Edward Stourton investigates how the Turkish-based Islamic Gulen movement is winning so.

Edward Stourton investigates how the Turkish-based Islamic Gulen movement is winning souls and dollars.

04/06/201120110606

Edward Stourton investigates how the Turkish-based Islamic Gulen movement is winning so.

04/07/200920090705

Mark Tully talks to the Dalai Lama about tensions between his spiritual primacy and his.

05/05/201020100506

Peter Stanford asks what people are looking for away from the bustle of daily life, exp.

05/09/200920090906

Hallelujah, the word and its musical magnificence, presented by composer Jocelyn Pook

05/11/201120111106

Jane Little reports on the crisis at St Paul's Cathedral in London following the protes.

05/11/201120111107
06/01/201020100107
06/01/201020100109

The Reverend Richard Coles explores the relationship between football and faith.

The cliche may have it that football is the new religion; but a new generation of football players are bringing God back onto the pitch.

Most famously, the Brazilian player, Kaka, has on several occasions celebrated his victories by revealing a T-shirt, which reads I Belong To Jesus".

Faith can play an important part in a player's life.

In African football, traditional belief systems, such as juju, have long been associated with the game.

But new Christian movements are displacing juju in Africa.

And everywhere they are showing signs of wanting to play a bigger role in football.

But FIFA would rather religion stayed out of football, and have warned they will not tolerate any expressions of religion, such as those professed by Kaka, on the pitch during this year's African Cup of Nations and World Cup.

It argues football's power to unite could be threatened if it does not remain secular.

Below: Brazilian football player Kaka and his t-shirt which reads: "I Belong To Jesus".

Picture by Getty Images".

06/01/201020100110

The Reverend Richard Coles explores the relationship between football and faith.

06/01/2010 Faith And Football20100106
06/01/2010 Faith And Football2010010620100110 (WS)

The Reverend Richard Coles explores the relationship between football and faith.

06/01/2010 Faith And Football2010010620100109 (WS)

The Reverend Richard Coles explores the relationship between football and faith.

06/01/2010 Faith And Football2010010620100107 (WS)

The Reverend Richard Coles explores the relationship between football and faith.

06/01/2010 Faith And Football20100106

The cliche may have it that football is the new religion; but a new generation of football players are bringing God back onto the pitch.

Most famously, the Brazilian player, Kaka, has on several occasions celebrated his victories by revealing a T-shirt, which reads "I Belong To Jesus".

Faith can play an important part in a player's life. In African football, traditional belief systems, such as juju, have long been associated with the game.

But new Christian movements are displacing juju in Africa. And everywhere they are showing signs of wanting to play a bigger role in football.

But FIFA would rather religion stayed out of football, and have warned they will not tolerate any expressions of religion, such as those professed by Kaka, on the pitch during this year's African Cup of Nations and World Cup.

It argues football's power to unite could be threatened if it does not remain secular.

Below: Brazilian football player Kaka and his t-shirt which reads: "I Belong To Jesus". Picture by Getty Images

06/08/201120110807

A spiritual journey along the River Ganges collecting sounds & stories from among the 4.

06/08/201120110808
06/10/201020101007

Zaiba Malik explores the work, and the social revolution, of the Mourchidat - female Mu.

06/10/201020101009

Zaiba Malik explores the work, and the social revolution, of the Mourchidat - female Muslim leaders in Morocco.

Zaiba Malik explores the work, and the social revolution, of the Mourchidat - female Mu.

06/10/201020101010
09/02/201120110210

Should a tolerant society accept religious intolerance? Jenny Cuffe investigates.

09/02/201120110212
09/02/201120110213

Should a tolerant society accept religious intolerance? Jenny Cuffe investigates.

09/02/201120110216

When 33 trapped Chilean miners were rescued, one declared that Jesus was the 34th man.

We explore how disaster affects faith.

09/02/201120110217

When 33 trapped Chilean miners were rescued, one declared that Jesus was the 34th man.

09/03/201120110316

Hannah Barnes explores how the revival of Hebrew continues to divide world Jewry.

09/03/201120110317
09/04/201120110410

The Dalai Lama in conversation, about stepping down as Tibet's political leader, who wi.

09/06/201020100610
09/06/201220120616

Matt Wells investigates how President Obama has made an enemy of the Catholic Church, a.

Matt Wells investigates how President Obama has made an enemy of the Catholic Church, and how this may effect his re-election.

10/03/201020100311

Rabbi Naftali Brawer explores the Jewish prayer for the dead.

10/10/200920091011

The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God in Islam

Moderate Mulsims are challenging fundamentalists and the context is being played out on.

10/10/200920091216

Moderate Mulsims are challenging fundamentalists and the context is being played out on.

Moderate Mulsims are challenging fundamentalists and the context is being played out on satellite TV channels.

10/10/200920091217

Moderate Mulsims are challenging fundamentalists and the context is being played out on.

10/10/200920091219
10/10/200920091220
11/02/201220120212

Many Afro-Caribbean Christians in Britain shun the Church of England, preferring majori.

11/02/201220120213
11/07/200920090712

Nick Baker explores what it means to be Jewish and not believe in God.

Nick Baker, son of a Jewish mother but who doesn't believe in God, discovers what it me.

11/07/200920100123

NICK BAKER explores what it means to be Jewish and not believe in God.

He loves Jewish food, films, and literature, and he has what he feels is a typically Jewish love of debate.

Yet Nick Baker feels unsure about his Jewish identity because one key ingredient is missing: he doesn't believe in God.

In this programme, he meets secular and religious Jews from Israel, the US, and Britain to find out how they understand the idea of secular or cultural Judaism - and whether he could opt out of the faith altogether.

And he explores whether other faiths - like Islam - have a similar secular identity alongside the religious one.

11/07/200920100124

NICK BAKER explores what it means to be Jewish and not believe in God.

11/08/201020100812

Edward Stourton examines claims that the tolerance which moral relativism is supposed t.

11/08/201020100814
11/08/201020100815
11/11/200920091112

In the 80's pastor Christian Fuehrer put a sign on his church in Leipzig: Open to All.

12/05/201020100513

Islam expert Roger Hardy travels to Glasgow to meet the Muslim community and find out h.

12/05/20122012051220120514

Paul Bakibinga asks how former child soldiers abducted by the Lords Resistance Army can.

12/05/20122012051220120513

Paul Bakibinga asks how former child soldiers abducted by the Lords Resistance Army can.

Paul Bakibinga asks how former child soldiers abducted by the Lords Resistance Army can be helped to overcome their trauma.

12/09/200920090913

What does faith have to do with the global finance crisis? Richard Cole investigates.

Lord Myners, the Minister appointed to clean up the City, is so dismayed with the greed.

13/01/201020100114

The Whoop is a musical, emotional method of preaching.

An African American preaching s.

13/01/201020100116
13/01/201020100117
13/01/2010 The Whoop20100113
13/01/2010 The Whoop2010011320100117 (WS)

Why a preaching technique called The Whoop is a way of life for African American churches

13/01/2010 The Whoop2010011320100116 (WS)

Why a preaching technique called The Whoop is a way of life for African American churches

13/01/2010 The Whoop2010011320100114 (WS)

Why a preaching technique called The Whoop is a way of life for African American churches

13/01/2010 The Whoop20100113

Why a preaching technique called The Whoop is a way of life for African American churches

The Whoop is a musical, emotional, non-intellectual method of preaching the Word of God. An African American preaching style, it’s been called "singing the sermon". The Whoop originated during the early days of North American slavery and continues to evolve today.

Jessica Alpert goes to the deep south of the United States of America, to Atlanta, to hear the sounds and words of this extraordinary way of communicating the Word.

As they say in the congregation when the sermon takes off - 'Pull it Reverend'!

Below: Presenter Jessica Alpert

13/08/201120110814

Tim Judah is in Senegal to meet the Mourides, a powerful Senegalese Muslim brotherhood.

13/08/201120110815
13/10/201020101014

Jessica Alpert discovers The Whoop - a musical, emotional, non-intellectual method of p.

14/07/201020100715

There are thousands of Buddhist temples in Japan and most have huge bronze bells, bonsh.

15/12/201020101216

Francis Spufford looks at how Bede, an obscure English monk from the 8th century, shape.

16/02/201120110223

As Mohammed becomes the most popular name for boys in Britain, three men reflect on wha.

As Mohammed becomes the most popular name for boys in Britain, three men reflect on what their name means to them.

16/02/201120110224

As Mohammed becomes the most popular name for boys in Britain, three men reflect on wha.

16/02/201120110226
16/02/201120110227
16/03/201120110402

The King James Bible is 400 years old this year - but have more modern translations made it irrelevant?

The King James Bible is 400 years old this year - but have more modern translations mad.

16/03/201120110403

The King James Bible is 400 years old this year - but have more modern translations mad.

The King James Bible is 400 years old this year - but have more modern translations made it irrelevant?

16/03/201120110404

The King James Bible is 400 years old this year - but have more modern translations mad.

16/04/201120110417

Why take on a religion which doesn’t encourage converts? New Jews give their reasons

Why do people choose to take the difficult path to convert to Judaism, a religion that does not seek or encourage converts? The most straightforward motive is marriage, but there are people who convert for their own deeply personal reasons.

Theo, born to staunch Nazi parents in 1930s Berlin.

His journey has taken him from being a member of the Hitler Youth, to marking the anniversary of Hitler's birthday by reading in synagogue.

His new Jewish faith helps satisfy the need he feels to atone personally for the crimes committed against the Jews by the Nazis.

Nigerian-born Elisha and Nkem were brought up in Lagos in a community of Messianic Jews, who follow Jewish customs, but are taught that Jesus is the Messiah.

Why have they have chosen to actually convert to mainstream Judaism and bring up their two young children in the faith?

Agi, brought up in a family with no religion in a small town in Hungary, hungering for a spiritual dimension to her life.

She explains why in the end she found it not in Catholicism, but in Judaism and how it led her to London via Budapest.

‘New Jews’ talk frankly to Judi Herman about what has led them to the Jewish faith.

Judaism does not encourage converts - so why do people tread the arduous path of studyi.

16/05/200920090517

The second of two programmes looking this week at the sanctity of language and the Koran.

Emre Azizlerli continues his exploration of the sanctity of language, in two Heart and Soul programmes on the Bible and the Koran.

This week he turns to the Koran.

In Islam, the language of the Koran is a sacred language.

Muslim believers regard Koranic Arabic as the only language that can contain the many-layered richness of divine truth.

(This is a very different to approach to language than in Christianity, where devotion is not restricted to one sacred language and the Bible is widely translated.)

Muslims around the globe say their daily prayers in Arabic, no matter what they may speak as their mother tongue.

Learning Koranic Arabic itself becomes an act of faith.

But there have been challenges to the sacred status of Arabic in the Muslim world, as in 1930's Turkey under Ataturk's rule.

16/06/201020100617

Richard Coles explores the role faith plays in football and asks how realistic it is to.

16/06/201020100619

The cliche may have it that football is the new religion; but a new generation of football players are bringing God back onto the pitch.

Most famously, the Brazilian player, Kaka, has on several occasions celebrated his victories by revealing a T-shirt, which reads I Belong To Jesus".

Faith can play an important part in a player's life.

In African football, traditional belief systems, such as juju, have long been associated with the game.

Now new Christian movements are displacing juju in Africa.

And everywhere they are showing signs of wanting to play a bigger role in football.

But Fifa, the international regulatory body, would rather religion stayed out of football.

They have warned they will not tolerate any expressions of religion, such as those professed by Kaka, on the pitch during this month's World Cup in South Africa.

Fifa argues that football's power to unite could be threatened if it does not remain secular.

Is there room for God on the football pitch?".

16/06/201020100620

Is there room for God on the football pitch?

16/07/201120110717

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss this seminal text of Hinduism, in which Krishna teaches.

16/07/201120110718
17/10/200920091018

Frank Faulk goes on a Biblically Correct Tour and sees an encounter between an evolutio.

A paleontologist and a Christian creationist disagree about fossil exhibits at a museum.

18/08/201020100819

Razia Iqbal takes a fresh look at the rich oral and artistic traditions surrounding the.

18/08/201020100821
18/08/201020100822
18/11/200920091119

Through the eyes of Berlin's new Jews, Kristine Pommert portrays the Jewish community i.

18/11/200920091121
18/11/200920091122
19/01/201120110120

Tim Winter goes in search of the truth behind Abdullah Quilliam, the solicitor who buil.

19/09/200920090920

Poverty as a spiritual practice.

Is it beneficial to self and society?

Ernie Rea presents a discussion on poverty as a spirtual practice.

20/01/201020100121

Naomi Gryn, daughter of the late Rabbi Hugo Gryn goes to Mumbai to see what has become.

20/06/200920090621

Christopher Landau investigates the undercover Christian missionaries in Afghanistan wh.

20/10/201020101021

Rabbi Naftali Brawer explores the history and meaning of the Mourners Kaddish, the Jewi.

21/04/201020100422

Edward Stourton reports on 'a campaign of liquidation' against Iraq's religious minorit.

21/05/201120110522

After marching together against President Mubarak, what's the future for relations betw.

21/05/201120110523
22/08/200920090823

If your grandfather was a mass murderer, could you handle the guilt and shame?

Uwe's grandfather was a Nazi stormtrooper who took part in the liquidation of the Warsa.

22/12/201020101223

Step-parenting has become far more common, but has it become any easier emotionally to.

23/03/201120110324
23/03/201120110326

Paul Bakibinga asks how former child soldiers abducted by the Lords Resistance Army can be helped to overcome their trauma.

Paul Bakibinga asks how former child soldiers abducted by the Lords Resistance Army can.

23/05/200920090524

Song of the Scallop considers the history and mythology of the humble mollusc.

23/07/201120110724

A look at how people in Australia are employing Buddhist ethics and practices in their.

23/07/201120110725
23/12/2009 Refuge Bethlehem20091224

The Creche in Bethlehem where abandoned Palestinian children find a loving home.

23/12/2009 Refuge Bethlehem20091226

The Creche in Bethlehem where abandoned Palestinian children find a loving home

Christians the world over associate Bethlehem with the birth of the Christ child more than 2,000 years ago.

But few of the pilgrims who come to Bethlehem pause to consider that Jesus was a child facing the potential stigma of uncertain parentage.

Just like many of the children at La Creche, or the manger" - a children's home in Bethlehem where unwanted Palestinian children find love and a safe environment.

Children like Fares, who was found abandoned in a box near a checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem; or Ehab, the son of a deaf 16-year-old who was abused by several cousins and neighbours.

Most of these children are conceived out of wedlock.

In a majority Muslim society with a strict honour code, this could spell a death sentence for both mother and child.

At La Creche, desperate young women fearing for their lives can give birth in safety.

Christopher Landau hears the stories of some of the children at the Creche, and meets those who work tirelessly to give them a good start in life - and who find hope even at the toughest times through the joy and affection shown by the children in their care.

Join Christopher as he witnesses an unfolding drama as a young pregnant woman makes her long and perilous way to Bethlehem – will she make it, and can she deliver her baby in safety?

Below: Born in Bethlehem: baby Ehab".

23/12/2009 Refuge Bethlehem20091227
24/11/201020101125

A new spiritual focus on lifestyle changes that reduce personal consumption and carbon.

25/11/200920091126

The Ka'aba is the Black Cube in Mecca, the holiest shrine of Islam, Navid Akhtar looks.

26/01/201120110127

Nick Thorpe looks at Hungarian plans to help the Roma help themselves, and it's the chu.

26/01/201120110129

Nick Thorpe looks at Hungarian plans to help the Roma help themselves, and it's the churches that are to play a decisive role.

Nick Thorpe looks at Hungarian plans to help the Roma help themselves, and it's the chu.

26/01/201120110130
26/09/200920090927

Is there alien life on other planets, and what are the implications for world religions?

How different religions view the world beyond and the implications for what it means to.

27/06/200920090628

Marion Dante's account of her experience as a Salesian nun and her difficulty in adapti.

27/10/201020101028

Matt Wells explores how the Tea Party movement in the US may affect the traditional Chr.

28/01/201220120129

Jane Little meets Holocaust survivors and hears their stories of courage and resilience.

28/01/201220120130

Jane Little meets Holocaust survivors and hears their stories of courage and resilience.

29/08/200920090830

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

Exploring the impact of a new scheme in Morocco, which trains women as 'Morchidat', hop.

29/09/201020100930
29/12/201020101230

Chaplain Thomas Dyer converted to Buddhism, and became first Buddhist chaplain in the A.

30/07/201120110731
30/07/201120110801
30/12/2009 Hallelujah2009123020100102 (WS)
20100103 (WS)

Hallelujah, the word and its musical magnificence.

Hallelujah, halleluyah, or alleluia, is the word to express joy. It has been sung by the Jews and Christians and has resonated with Muslims since the practice of singing praise to God began.

It is the most musical word that exists and has inspired composers and songwriters from King David the psalmist almost three thousand years ago, European composers of the 17th and 18th centuries - Monteverdi, Handel, and Vivaldi, Gospel singers and of course Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen.

In Heart and Soul, British composer Jocelyn Pook explores the music and meaning of Hallelujah and in the course of the programme composes a new piece of music to celebrate the word.

Hallelujah really is a remarkable word. In the Bible, it appears in the book of Psalms, yet this exuberant exclamation of joy and gratitude has survived the passage of centuries, transcending the barriers of language and culture.

According to the ancient Jewish Talmud, Hallelujah is the most sublime expression of God's praise, combining together in one word both praise (hallel) and God's Name(the two-letter Name 'Ya-H").

The verb halal literally means "to shine" and in ancient Hebrew is often used to describe stars. In essence, Hallelujah means shine with God. In ancient Arabic, also a Semitic language, Hallel is to "shout with joy". In the English language it follows the Greek, "alleluia"

"Let sin be finished from the earth, and evil be no more. My soul will bless God, Hallelujah!" Psalm 104

Below: British composer Jocelyn Pook

30/12/2009 Hallelujah20091230

Hallelujah, the word and its musical magnificence

Hallelujah, halleluyah, or alleluia, is THE word to express joy.

It has been sung by the Jews and Christians and has resonated with Muslims since the practice of singing praise to God began.

It's the most musical word that exists: It has inspired composers and songwriters from King David the psalmist almost three thousand years ago, European composers of the 17th and 18th centuries - Monteverdi, Handel, and Vivaldi, Gospel singers and of course American singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen.

In Heart and Soul, British composer Jocelyn Pook explores the music and meaning of Hallelujah and in the course of the programme composes a new piece of music to celebrate the word.

Hallelujah really is a remarkable word.

In the Bible, it appears in the book of Psalms; yet this exuberant exclamation of joy and gratitude has survived the passage of centuries, transcending the barriers of language and culture.

According to the ancient Jewish Talmud, Hallelujah is the most sublime expression of God's praise, combining together in one word both praise (hallel) and God's Name (the two-letter Name 'Ya-H).

The verb halal literally means "to shine" and in ancient Hebrew is often used to describe stars.

In essence, Hallelujah means: shine with God.

In ancient Arabic, also a Semitic language, Hallel is to “shout with joy”.

In the English language it follows the Greek, "alleluia"

"Let sin be finished from the earth, and evil be no more.

My soul will bless God, Hallelujah!" Psalm 104

Below: British composer Jocelyn Pook".

30/12/2009 Hallelujah20091231

Hallelujah, the word and its musical magnificence.

30/12/2009 Hallelujah20100102
30/12/2009 Hallelujah20100103
969: How Burma's Buddhist Monks Turned On Islam2013090120130902 (WS)
20130903 (WS)

Wirathu, the Buddhist monk leading the anti-Muslim campaign of Myanmar

To be a Muslim in Burma is dangerous. Thanks to an orchestrated campaign led by a Buddhist monk, the Muslim minority in Myanmar has been victimised and persecuted, and in some extreme cases members of the community have been killed.

Heart and Soul meets Wirathu. With his balding head and orange robes, he is the epitome of what the rest of the world thinks of when we imagine the monks of Burmese Buddhism, but the sermons he preaches are those of fear and violence against Muslims. He feels they want to become the majority in the country. He tells Heart and Soul:

“We are trying to create common ground so we can all live together. If they live in this country they must be loyal to the people and the country, then we can all live together. But if they continue doing as they are now, then that is not going to happen. To prevent this kind of situation we must keep the Buddhist population strong, that is my main purpose and intention.”

Jonah Fisher travels to his monastery as he searches for how the message preached by Wirathu fits with the ethos of Buddhism and how the Islamic population in this ancient country lives and worships under the threat of the Buddhists who seem intent on violently driving them from their country. Wirathu heads the 969 campaign to force people not to use Muslim businesses. The title of the campaign is deeply rooted in the Buddhist faith:

“The numbers of 969 stand for the nine qualities of lord Buddha, the six qualities of his teachings – the Dharma and the nine qualities of the monks. These are very pure and peaceful symbols not linked to any anger greed or ambiguity.”

He asks Wirathu how two faiths have become enemies and why the calm and peaceful nature of Buddhism has been transformed into one of violence and hatred.

A Chaplain In New York2014060720140610 (WS)

Meet Muslim chaplain to New York University and New York police Khalid Latif

A Chaplain In New York2014060720140608 (WS)
20140609 (WS)

Meet Muslim chaplain to New York University and New York police Khalid Latif

Imam Khalid Latif is a Muslim chaplain, a spiritual guide in New York City. In 2007, at the age of 24, he became the youngest chaplain in the history of the New York Police Department. He is also executive director of the dynamic Islamic Center at New York University.

This programme features a “day in the life” of the young faith leader in the metropolis. Khalid travels through the city to meet with Muslim students, Muslim leaders and Muslim police officers, assessing the progress of the Muslim Community in New York since 2001.

We hear about Khalid’s ultimate goal of building a New York where young American Muslims can express their unique identity and assert their voices in broader society.

Picture: Imam Khalid Latif. Credit: Matthew Septimus

A Jew's Search For Silence2013052520130526 (WS)
20130527 (WS)
20130528 (WS)

Clive Lawton searching for silence in faith.

There are strands of pretty much every faith which embrace the notion of silence as a means of worship. The monastic Christian tradition has seen individual monks and nuns take vows of silence lasting years; Quakers meet in largely unbroken silence; Buddhism devotes much energy to the power of silent meditation.

Clive Lawton, however, is used to life as a practising Jew, where speech, debate and discussion is fundamental. During worship people mill around without fear of being hushed, and even the silent prayers are more commonly muttered than recited in the head. So for him, silence as a tool of faith is something of a mystery, and in this programme he sets out to understand it better.

Along the way he visits a city-centre church where people seek quiet refuge from the noise and bustle outside; he joins a Buddhist meditation class; he visits a Quaker centre to get to grips with that tradition's devotion to quietness. Along the way he grapples with the question of what silence can offer a person of faith, and questions whether he has been missing out on a profound communion with God that only quietness can hope to provide.

A Place To Dwell2013122820131229 (WS)
20131230 (WS)

How a Sikh doctor, Prabhjot Singh, forgave his racist attackers

Prabhjot Singh, a doctor in East Harlem, was attacked by a mob of 25 young men in September 2013. They called him “Osama” and “terrorist,” police said. Two days later, he forgave his attackers. Singh said he’d like to educate them and invite them to worship with him. “I think to simply go out and punish those individuals who have acted out on hate crimes is insufficient,” he said.

Prabhjot Singh’s calm reaction at the scene of the attack and in its aftermath seems extraordinary. But Singh argues his response is rooted in many years of Sikh devotion – and in particular the faith’s disquiet with the notion of victimhood. In this Heart and Soul, Cathy FitzGerald explores what it means to be a victim as a person and as a Sikh. If there is no victim, is there a crime? And how can justice be meted out?

A Place To Dwell2014051020140511 (WS)
20140512 (WS)
20140513 (WS)

Why Sikh doctor Prabhjot Singh said he was 'grateful' for the racist attack he endured

Prabhjot Singh, a doctor in East Harlem, was attacked by a mob of 25 young men in September 2013. They called him “Osama” and “terrorist,” police said. Two days later, he forgave his attackers. Singh said he’d like to educate them and invite them to worship with him. “I think to simply go out and punish those individuals who have acted out on hate crimes is insufficient,” he said.

Prabhjot Singh’s calm reaction at the scene of the attack and in its aftermath seems extraordinary. But Singh argues his response is rooted in many years of Sikh devotion – and in particular the faith’s disquiet with the notion of victimhood. In this Heart and Soul, Cathy FitzGerald explores what it means to be a victim as a person and as a Sikh. If there is no victim, is there a crime? And how can justice be meted out?

A Road Trip To War2013112320131125 (WS)

The British Muslims risking their lives to deliver aid to Syria by hand

Catrin Nye follows the British Muslims risking their lives to deliver medical supplies, blankets and dried food to the thousands of people affected by the on-going civil war in Syria. The group travel overland through France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece and finally to the Turkey-Syria border where they cross into Syria. They deliver aid by hand and dodge snipers to administer medical treatment in hospitals.

The men fit the profile of those known to be going to fight in Syria and British counter terror police are tracking the group - resulting in delays, questioning and some not making it to Syria. There is a distinct lack of fear from everyone involved in the trip - a fearlessness that they put down to their religion and a belief that if they were to die that would be destiny. This is particularly evident inside Syria where the group take huge risks travelling deep into Aleppo.

We follow the journey from tears in Manchester as family wave goodbye to relatives, all the way into Syria. We share the life changing journey to the front line of the Syrian war. What drives someone to take aid into their own hands and how responsible is it to do so?

(Image: Muslim volunteers praying beside their aid vehicles)

Catrin Nye follows the British Muslims risking their lives to deliver aid to Syria by h.

Catrin Nye follows the British Muslims risking their lives to deliver aid to Syria by hand.

A Womb Is A Weapon2013051820130519 (WS)
20130520 (WS)
20130521 (WS)

The evangelical Christians who believe multiple families are the will of God

Across the world, and increasingly in Europe and the UK, a unique Christian evangelical movement is growing. Cat McShane meets the British families who believe that almost all forms of birth control and contraception are an abuse of the gift of fertility and sin against the will of God.

This radically pro-life theology began in the United States, but is now growing across the world. It encourages Christians to accept ever larger families and to reject ideas of feminism and female equality as ungodly distractions from the divine duty of motherhood.

Instead they have chosen to adopt the ‘biblical’ model of a submissive stay-at-home wife, and a husband as leader and primary breadwinner in the household. These doctrines are unusual, even within the evangelical movement, for the overwhelming emphasis which they place on women, women’s bodies and female fertility as a tool to transform society.

For some, encouraging larger Christian families is part of a project to outbreed other religions, particularly Islam, winning back the world for Christ one baby at a time.

Produced by Leo Hornak.

(Image: A baby wrapped in a blanket)

Across the world, and increasingly in Europe and the UK, a unique Christian evangelical movement is growing. For Heart and Soul on the BBC World Service, Cat McShane meets the British families who believe that almost all forms of birth control and contraception are an abuse of the gift of fertility, and sin against the will of God.

A Womb Is A Weapon2013092120130923 (WS)
20130924 (WS)

The Quiverfull Christians trying to transform society by raising large families

A Womb Is A Weapon2013092120130922 (WS)

The Quiverfull Christians trying to transform society by raising large families

Absolving The Past (part 2)2013022320130224 (WS)
20130225 (WS)

Imam Khalid Latif considers what happens when world religions change their minds.

Religion is in a special bind. It must represent the eternal. But how does a world religion grapple with the fact that, throughout its history, important beliefs or practices have become obsolete? In this two-part series, Imam for the Islamic Centre at New York University Khalid Latif, addresses religion as a difficult learning process with believers and leading theological thinkers. Using historic and contemporary examples, the Imam examines how religions revise, update or even apologise. In part two Khalid will look at the Catholic Church. He’ll meet members of the Vatican Observatory, discussing how far the Church has come since the trial of Galileo. He will muse on the history and future of the Church with lay Catholics. With prominent rabbis, Khalid also examines how Judaism adapts to cultural pressure, interpreting the lessons and laws of the Torah.

(Image: Imam Khalid Latif. Credit: Bryan Derballa)

After Savita2013060820130609 (WS)
20130610 (WS)
20130611 (WS)

Catholic Ireland debates its abortion laws

Every year thousands of women travel from Ireland to the UK to have an abortion. It is enshrined in the country’s constitution that from the moment of conception, a foetus has the same rights as every other human being. The Irish government is coming under pressure to reform the law as well as coming under huge pressure to keep the law exactly as it is. The Catholic church and pro-life groups are adamant though that the law as its stands protects one of its most important teachings.

The pro-choice argument has been stoked by the death of Savita Halappanavar in November 2012. After complications early in her pregnancy she went to hospital in Galway on Ireland's west coast. Termination, she was told wasn’t an option as Ireland was a Catholic country. Savita, a Hindu, died. Although the inquest didn’t say that a termination would have saved her life, Irish people took to the streets in her name to demand a change.

Colette Kinsella reports from Ireland on the bitter debate that has split this country, how women who have secretly had to abort their babies feel about what they did and how it changed their personal relationship with a Catholic church that has shaped the moral and legal framework in Ireland for decades.

It’s not only the future of the abortion law that’s been debated, the Irish people's relationship with its church is also under scrutiny, the church and the supporters of its stance on abortion are adamant that you simply cannot be pro-abortion and Catholic. Colette meets one devout church-goer who says that’s exactly what she is, and it is this that’s at the heart of the debate that rages in bars, on radio talk shows and on the television news in this country. Can Ireland allow abortion, however restricted, and still live up to the title given to it by one former pope; ‘the most Catholic country in the world’

Alice Herz Sommer20111203

Another chance to hear the remarkable story of 108-year-old pianist Alice Herz Sommer.

Now 108 years old, concert pianist Alice Herz Sommer has led an extraordinary life.

She was born into a musical Jewish family in Prague and started playing the piano at the age of three.

Her mother had played with Gustav Mahler as a child, and Franz Kafka was a visitor to the family home.

During World War II, Alice's husband was transported by the Nazis to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, where he died shortly before the end of the war.

Alice and her six-year-old son Raphael were sent to the Terezin camp in June 1943, where they spent two gruesome years - but survived.

Alice's gift for music saved her from despair in the camp where thousands of prisoners died.

She gave many recitals there and it was music that kept her alive and fed her irrepressible optimism, which is still with her today.

"For me, music is God", she says.

"I always have music in my heart and no one can take that away from me."

After several years in Israel, Alice now lives in London.

Although her son Raphael Sommer, a gifted cellist and conductor, died in 2002, she continues to lead a life filled with music, friends and family.

For Heart and Soul she tells her story to Judi Herman.

Alice Herz Sommer's biography, A Garden of Eden in Hell, is published by Pan Macmillan

Photo credit: © Marion Davies.

Alice Herz Sommer20111204

Another chance to hear the remarkable story of 108-year-old pianist Alice Herz Sommer.

Alice Herz Sommer20111205
Alice Herz Sommer20140301

Concert pianist Alice Herz Sommer, who died at the age of 110, was born in Prague into a musical Jewish family. Alice and her son Raphael, a cellist, survived the holocaust. Herz-Sommer’s devotion to the piano and to her son sustained her through two years in a Nazi prison camp.

After World War II they moved to Israel, then London. She lead an active life, filled with music and studies.

Judi Herman looks at her life.

Picture: Alice Herz Sommer, Credit: AP Photo/The Lady in Number 6, Bunbury Films

An Anatomy Of Evil20111022

When Osama Bin Laden was killed, some commentators ranked him alongside Hitler and Stalin as the epitome of evil.

After the arrest of Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, one expert said that he had been in charge of “unbelievably evil things.”

Judges in Britain regularly call killers or child abusers evil when passing sentence.

But what do people really mean when they label a person evil?

Is anybody inherently evil, rather than just committing evil acts?

And how useful is it to call a man or woman evil?

Michael Ford seeks out the opinions of victims and self-confessed perpetrators of evil.

Among the former are Rebecca de Mauro, whose 12-year-old daughter was raped and killed by a relative; and Kemal Pervanic, a Bosnian Muslim who survived Omarska concentration camp.

We also hear how evil is understood in Christianity and Islam, and what its existence in the world says about God.

Are people like Osama bin Laden or General Mladic inherently evil? Michael Ford explores.

An Anatomy Of Evil20111023

Are people like Osama bin Laden or General Mladic inherently evil? Michael Ford explores.

An Anatomy Of Evil20111024
Being Joseph20101225

The story of Christ's birth in Bethlehem is re-told in churches around the world every Christmas.

Yet it is often overlooked that for one person, it must have been a time of emotional turmoil.

Joseph, the carpenter, had had to swallow the bitter pill of finding out that Mary, his fiancee, was pregnant before their wedding.

And the child, according to the gospel accounts, was not his.

Today, step-parenting has become far more common.

But does that make it any easier to bring up another man's child?

And are the story and attitude of Joseph any help to stepfathers today?

Neil Nunes meets stepfathers from Zimbabwe and Britain to find out.

Among them are

Patson Muzuwa, who has embraced his wife's son from another man as his own;

Paul Andrews, who is bringing up his former partner's daughter; and

Frederick Clarke, who had to cope with years of hostility from a teenage stepson.

Photograph:Patson Muzuwa with his son Mark.

Neil Nunes explores whether the earthly father of Jesus can inspire stepfathers today.

Being Joseph20101226

Neil Nunes explores whether the earthly father of Jesus can inspire stepfathers today.

Being Joseph20111217

Neil Nunes explores whether the earthly father of Jesus can inspire stepfathers today.

The story of Christ's birth in Bethlehem is re-told in churches around the world every Christmas.

Yet it is often overlooked that for one man, it must have been a time of emotional turmoil.

Joseph, the carpenter, had had to swallow the bitter pill of finding out that Mary, his fiancee, was pregnant before their wedding.

And the child, according to the gospel accounts, was not his.

Today, step-parenting has become far more common.

But does that make it any easier to bring up another man's child?

And are the story and attitude of Joseph any help to stepfathers today?

Neil Nunes meets stepfathers from Zimbabwe and Britain to

find out.

Among them are Patson Muzuwa, who has embraced his wife's son from another man as his own in the face of hostile reactions from the community; Paul Andrews, who is bringing up his former partner's daughter; and Frederick Clarke, who had to cope with years of hostility from a teenage stepson.

Photo shows Patson Muzuwa with his son Mark.

Being Joseph20111218

Neil Nunes explores whether the earthly father of Jesus can inspire step-fathers today.

The story of Christ's birth in Bethlehem is re-told in churches around the world every Christmas.

Yet it is often overlooked that for one man, it must have been a time of emotional turmoil.

Joseph, the carpenter, had had to swallow the bitter pill of finding out that Mary, his fiancee, was pregnant before their wedding.

And the child, according to the gospel accounts, was not his.

Today, step-parenting has become far more common.

But does that make it any easier to bring up another man's child?

And are the story and attitude of Joseph any help to stepfathers today?

Neil Nunes meets stepfathers from Zimbabwe and Britain to

find out.

Among them are Patson Muzuwa, who has embraced his wife's son from another man as his own in the face of hostile reactions from the community; Paul Andrews, who is bringing up his former partner's daughter; and Frederick Clarke, who had to cope with years of hostility from a teenage stepson.

Photo shows Patson Muzuwa with his son Mark.

Being Joseph20111219

Neil Nunes explores whether the earthly father of Jesus can inspire step-fathers today.

Beyond The Sting Of Death20110425

Early this year, the Catholic Bishop of East Anglia, Michael Evans, told his diocese that his doctors had only given him weeks to live.

He knows that this Holy Week and Easter will, in all probability, be his last.

Michael Ford talks to Bishop Evans to find out how he is preparing for death, and what the message of Easter - the resurrection hope - means to him.

We also hear from Sheila Cassidy, a doctor and psychotherapist who has come close to death both professionally and personally.

And we meet Mehboob Sher, a young Muslim from Pakistan who has lost all fear of death after surviving a bomb blast in Peshawar in 2009.

Can the message of Easter help Christians overcome the fear of death?

Beyond The Sting Of Death (heart And Sou20110423

Michael Ford examines what it really takes to conquer the fear of death, and what Christians can learn from other faiths.

Michael Ford examines what it really takes to conquer the fear of death, and what Chris.

Beyond The Sting Of Death (heart And Sou20110424

Michael Ford examines what it really takes to conquer the fear of death, and what Chris.

Beyond The War: Faith And Culture In West Africa2013040620130407 (WS)
20130408 (WS)
20130409 (WS)

What is the state of faith in Mali one year on after the Islamist coup?

It is one year now since a coup in Mali which plunged the country into an almost unimaginable crisis, and led to the north of the country being over-run by radical Islamist groups intent on enforcing strict sharia law. When these groups threatened to storm the capital Bamako, the French army intervened, sending troops to chase them out of the three main towns in the north. But the horror of the last year has had a deep impact on the spiritual and community life of Malians, who until the crisis described themselves as moderate Muslims with a tradition of tolerant and pluralistic Islam.

In the first of two programmes from West Africa, Celeste Hicks reports on how Malians are struggling to understand what has happened to the north of their country, and how they’re also asking themselves deep questions about who they are and what will happen to the ‘Malian Islam’ that has shaped their country.

As the capital prays in the vast Mosques, she finds out how traditional worship fits in with this particular strain of Islam and how the culture of this vibrant country which has produced internationally famous singing stars also came under threat from the Islamists looking to redefine what the faith means in Mali.

Image shows a Malian soldier praying in the northern city of Gao. Credit Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images.

Beyond The War: Faith And Culture In West Africa2013041320130414 (WS)
20130415 (WS)
20130416 (WS)

Sacred catfish and mud mosques in West Africa

In the second part of her two part journey through West Africa which began in Mali Celeste Hicks crosses the border to Burkina Faso.

Whereas the crisis of the last year and take-over of northern Mali by radical Islamists has forced ordinary Muslims there to examine their faith and the role of Islam in the rebuilding of their society, Burkina Faso has a reputation and a tradition similar to that of Mali pre-crisis – a moderate Islam where respect between Muslims and the country’s 40% Christian population is paramount; a country where animist practises survive alongside Christianity and Islam. And a country which has watched the social strife and political crisis in its neighbour and is praying that it can escape such turmoil.

Celeste visits the street brewers making the sweet millet beer in the shadow of one of the country’s mud mosques, and then she explores the animist traditions which have survived the introduction of Islam and Christianity and now prosper alongside the two main religions and she finds that some even worship both.

Celeste then takes a trip to meet the huge catfish considered so sacred they are given a human burial when they die, with help from the local blacksmith.

Image details: Archbishop of Ouagadougou Philippe Ouedrago (L) congratulates traditional Burkinabe chief the Mogho Naba Baongo (R), king of the Mossi people, at the 'Place de la Nation' square in Ouagadougou on August 19, 2012 as they came to wish a good Eid al-Fitr to the Burkinabe muslims observing Ramadan. AHMED OUOBA/AFP/GettyImages)

Black Churches And Obama2012102720121028 (WS)
20121029 (WS)

Will black Christians desert President Obama after he supported same sex marriage?

For millions of Black Christians in the United States, the decision about who to vote for in the forthcoming Presidential elections is far from simple. In May this year President Obama angered many Christians by supporting same sex marriage, leading many African-Americans to state they could not vote for him.

Matt Wells has been to the vital swing state of Ohio to hear from church goers about how they are wrestling with their Christian conscience in the last days of the tightest election race in years. 94% of African Americans voted for Obama last time, but amongst the church goers he meets as they go to worship, are those who feel that homosexuality is a sin and therefore they cannot support Obama.

But the alternative also presents a theological problem, Mormonism has historically excluded black people and to vote for Mitt Romney would go against their faith as well, Matt hears how some pastors have instructed their congregations not to vote at all, but for many African Americans whose forefathers fought for civil rights, that is just not an option.

Matt hears how the church goers of Youngstown are dealing with this dilemma of faith, race and politics with days left until they cast their vote.

(Image: Barack Obama praying during a services at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Credit: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Matt Wells examines how Barack Obama's support for same sex marriage may affect the vot...

Matt Wells examines how Barack Obama's support for same sex marriage may affect the voting of black Christians.

Bolivian Music20091024

Why the revival of centuries-old Jesuit music is re-awakening spirituality in Bolivia

Deep in the tropics of Bolivia, a revival of centuries-old Jesuit music is leading to a spiritual re-awakening and creating the next generation of the country's classical musicians.

Europeans and the local Indians have restored the original churches and reconstructed thousands of pages of original musical scores from the 17th century.

Heart and Soul goes to Bolivia to talk to the young musicians who say the music makes them feel closer to God, and to Father Piotr Nawrot, a Polish priest and musicologist, who painstakingly restored 27 volumes of music - a treasure trove that he describes as sacred music.

Bolivian Music20091025

Why the revival of centuries-old Jesuit music is re-awakening spirituality in Bolivia.

Brazil And The Rise Of The Evangelical Church2012120120121202 (WS)
20121203 (WS)

It was once the case that Brazilians worshipped as one in the thousands of Catholic churches spread around this vast country. But a religious revolution is taking place, and a new dynamic form of charismatic Evangelical Christianity is taking over. A quarter of Brazilians now worship in Evangelical churches, many of them practicing the Prosperity gospel which promises them happiness and fulfilment in return for a proportion of their wealth.

And its wealth, along with power and influence, which the Catholic Church previously claimed as its own, is the result of this increased membership. Paulo Cabral investigates why Brazilians are turning form the Catholicism which has had a presence in Brazil for over 500 years, and how the charismatic churches have become so popular changing the way many Brazilians in some of the poorest areas of the country profess their faith and accumulating this vast wealth and political power along the way.

(Image shows devotees of the Evangelic Unified Center (CEU) in Rio de Janeiro, taking part in a worship service 04 May, 2007. Photo credit: VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

TBC

Caada Real20130119

John Laurenson reports on the role of religion in Western Europe’s biggest shantytown.

There is, just outside Madrid, a large, sprawling drug infested shantytown the Cañada Real, which is home to tens of thousands of the poorest people in Spain. Now, as the recession in Europe bites, its population is rising and life in one of the most miserable corners of Europe is getting harder still. John Laurenson has been to the Canada to discover the extraordinary role that religion is playing in the lives of the people who live there.

He meets people - Christian and Muslim - who live in the most desperate poverty but have placed their faith in God, despite living in their squalid, makeshift houses which stand next to a road that is the Spanish capital's centre of drug dealing and drug taking. He also meets Padre Augustin, the parish priest of the Cañada to hear how he serves God amongst the most desperate people, victims of the recession that has hit Spain.

Special thanks to Borja Robert who accompanied John as his fixer, translator, guide and friend in the Canada Real.

Canada Real20120915

John Laurenson tours the Canada Real, the biggest shanty town in Western Europe.

There is - just outside Madrid - a large, sprawling drug infested shantytown the Canada Real, which is home to tens of thousands of the poorest people in Spain.

Now, as the recession in Europe bites, its population is rising and life in one of the most miserable corners of Europe is getting harder still.

John Laurenson has been to the Canada to discover the extraordinary role that religion is playing in the lives of the people who live there.

He meets people - Christian and Muslim - who live in the most desperate poverty but have placed their faith in God, despite living in their squalid, makeshift houses which stand next to a road that is the Spanish capital's centre of drug dealing and drug taking.

He also meets Padre Augustin, the parish priest of the Canada to hear how he serves God amongst the most desperate people, victims of the recession that has hit Spain.

Special thanks to Borja Robert who accompanied John as his fixer, translator, guide and friend in the Canada Real.

(Image: Pastor Manuel and his son)

Canada Real2013011920130120 (WS)
20130121 (WS)

John Laurenson reports on the role of religion in Western Europe’s biggest shantytown.

There is, just outside Madrid, a large, sprawling drug infested shantytown, the Canada Real, which is home to tens of thousands of the poorest people in Spain. Now, as the recession in Europe bites, its population is rising and life in one of the most miserable corners of Europe is getting harder still. John Laurenson has been to the Canada to discover the extraordinary role that religion is playing in the lives of the people who live there.

He meets people - Christian and Muslim - who live in the most desperate poverty but have placed their faith in God, despite living in their squalid, makeshift houses which stand next to a road that is the Spanish capital's centre of drug dealing and drug taking. He also meets Padre Augustin, the parish priest of the Canada to hear how he serves God amongst the most desperate people, victims of the recession that has hit Spain.

Special thanks to Borja Robert who accompanied John as his fixer, translator, guide and friend in the Canada Real.

Chinese Christians In Vancouver2013033020130331 (WS)
20130401 (WS)
20130402 (WS)

Chinese New Year with the Christians of Vancouver.

Matt Wells spends Chinese New Year weekend in Vancouver to hear how the population in the city mix a strong evangelical faith with Chinese traditions. Nearly half a million people of Chinese descent live in Vancouver on Canada’s West coast; the highest concentration of Chinese population in the entire North America. A quarter of these practise Christianity, more than those practising Buddhism.

Over the weekend of Chinese New Year, Wells visits several churches in the booming suburb of Richmond where dozens of Christian churches have sprung up to serve increasingly mainland-Chinese immigrants. He hears how the younger generation of churchgoers are starting churches of their own, where English is the main language of worship. He also hears about the many home-grown Canadians view even wealthy Chinese immigrants with suspicion - a legacy of Canada's past discrimination aimed specifically at the Chinese, who were denied full rights until 1967.

He finds a young vibrant Christian community split between Roman Catholics and evangelical Christians who have different attitudes to the traditional Chinese festivals as the Year of the Snake begins.

He also find out the role of the huge population in China usurping the USA in becoming Canada’s biggest trading partner.

Christmas In Norway20111224

Survivors and bereaved families facing their first Christmas since the Utoya massacre.

Norway is not a strongly religious country, yet after Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in July, it was the Lutheran Cathedral in Oslo that quickly became the focal point for grieving families and a nation in shock.

Five months on, how do the country, families, and survivors prepare to celebrate Christmas in the light of the most traumatic event in Norway’s history since World War II?

Has the horror of the attacks drawn people back to church, or has it snuffed out the remnants of an already marginal faith?

Can Christmas be a time of hope for parents after losing a child?

Or for teenagers who saw close friends die?

And how are Muslims spending this darkest time of the year, considering Breivik’s declared agenda against the ‘Islamisation’ of Europe?

Tom Esslemont speaks to survivors and visits families, mosques and churches to find out.

Photo: 16-year-old Marte Fjermestad survived the massacre on Utoya.

She felt that God was close to her on the island.

Christmas In Norway20111225

Survivors and bereaved families facing their first Christmas since the Utoya massacre.

Norway is not a strongly religious country, yet after Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in July, it was the Lutheran Cathedral in Oslo that quickly became the focal point for grieving families and a nation in shock.

Five months on, how do the country, families, and survivors prepare to celebrate Christmas in the light of the most traumatic event in Norway’s history since World War II?

Has the horror of the attacks drawn people back to church, or has it snuffed out the remnants of an already marginal faith?

Can Christmas be a time of hope for parents after losing a child?

Or for teenagers who saw close friends die?

And how are Muslims spending this darkest time of the year, considering Breivik’s declared agenda against the ‘Islamisation’ of Europe?

Tom Esslemont speaks to survivors and visits families, mosques and churches to find out.

(Photo: 16-year-old Marte Fjermestad survived the massacre on Utoya. She felt that God was close to her on the island.).

Christmas In Norway20111226

Survivors and bereaved families facing their first Christmas since the Utoya massacre.

Colombian Hostages 09/06/201020100612

The personal and spiritual journeys of people who spent years in captivity.

FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia have been fighting the government of the South American country since the 1960s.

Their tactics have involved kidnapping members of the armed forces and politicians, some of whom they've held for years.

In this programme, Juan Carlos Jaramillo explores these political kidnappings in Colombia, and the personal and moral journeys of the victims.

Among others, he speaks to ex-Congressmen Luis Eladio Prez and Gloria Polanco de Losada, who were held for over six years.

What spiritual resources did they draw upon in order to survive such a long enclosure?

How did they cope with people holding a different moral compass to their own?

And did their forced imprisonment create a different way of seeing the world and conducting human relationships, even changing their lives?

Luis Eladio Perez has written a book about his time as a hostage.

Colombian Hostages 09/06/201020100613

The personal and spiritual journeys of people who spent years in captivity.

Dangerous Mission20100519

After the killing of Christian aid worker Gayle Williams, we ask if missionaries are br.

After the killing of Christian aid worker Gayle Williams, we ask if missionaries are brave ambassadors or irresponsible.

Dangerous Mission20100520

After the killing of Christian aid worker Gayle Williams, we ask if missionaries are br.

Dangerous Mission20100522

They face arrest, deportation, and death threats.

Their work is so sensitive that few are prepared to talk about it.

But for this programme - our religious affairs correspondent, Christopher Landau - has persuaded some of them to speak: the missionaries who carry the gospel to countries which are hostile to Christian mission.

Countries where evangelising may put them, and those they lead to Christ, in mortal danger.

Hear their stories, and find out about the huge ethical dilemmas they face.

And discover how their work looks from a Muslim perspective.

What it means to be a Christian missionary in a hostile country.

Dangerous Mission20100523

What it means to be a Christian missionary in a hostile country.

Driving Out The Devil20140726
Driving Out The Devil2014072620140727 (WS)
20140728 (WS)
20140729 (WS)

Are people 'possesed' by daemons or is it a case of mental illness that's being ignored?

The ideas and images we have of the devil and of daemonic possession have largely come down to us through popular culture - and that is especially true of exorcism. It’s a vital part of faith, to believe in good there must be bad and bad comes in the many forms of the devil.

The rite of exorcism, where the spirit of the devil which has taken up a place within a body is cast out, is very real and across the world officially appointed Catholic ministers conduct exorcisms on a regular basis. Each year for the past decade trained and practising exorcists and interested parties have come together in Rome for a conference, to investigate the role of exorcism in the modern world.

Mark Dowd has been granted rare access to this conference - and exorcists from all over the globe - to find out what they actually do and how they respond to suggestions that this is a throwback to medieval superstition. He questions how possible it is to distinguish between possession and mental illness, and discovers in a conversation with the former Bishop of Monmouth in the UK, that this is a rite not just practised by Roman Catholics but also by Anglican ministers globally.

Mark then travels to Sardinia, the small island off the coast of Italy, which sent three priests to the Rome conference last year following increased reports of possession. And, he meets a woman who is undergoing a course of exorcism from two priests, having been taken over by several daemons for the past five years.

The conflict between whether she and other ‘possessed’ people have been invaded by the devil is a constant one. Sceptics say that as long as the church continues to conduct exorcisms it just perpetuates the myth surrounding Satan and the dangers of evil. They are concerned that the possessed are in fact mentally ill and that this is being dangerously ignored.

Easter20100331

Those who've suffered arrive at a personal understanding of Christ's resurrection.

Holy Week and Easter are a time for Christians to reflect on how Christ died on the cross, and rose from the dead three days later.

But some find it easier to relate to the suffering Christ of Good Friday than the risen Christ of the Easter story.

Join Michael Ford as he meets people who feel Jesus has been alongside them as a fellow-sufferer.

Among them a pastor from the Democratic Republic of Congo who felt he almost became one with Christ when he was tortured in jail; and a man with a diagnosis of terminal cancer.

Hear how they and others find meaning in identifying with Christ's suffering, but also, how they've arrived at their own understanding of what resurrection means.

Illustration above: Some people relate to Christ's suffering more easily than his resurrection.

Easter20100401

Those who've suffered arrive at a personal understanding of Christ's resurrection.

Easter20100403

Holy Week and Easter are a time for Christians to reflect on how Christ died on the cross, and rose from the dead three days later.

But some find it easier to relate to the suffering Christ of Good Friday than the risen Christ of the Easter story.

Join Michael Ford as he meets people who feel Jesus has been alongside them as a fellow-sufferer.

Among them a pastor from the Democratic Republic of Congo who felt he almost became one with Christ when he was tortured in jail; and a man with a diagnosis of terminal cancer.

Hear how they and others find meaning in identifying with Christ's suffering, but also, how they've arrived at their own understanding of what resurrection means.

Illustration above: Some people relate to Christ's suffering more easily than his resurrection

Those who've suffered arrive at a personal understanding of Christ's resurrection.

Easter20100404
Elif Shafak20120204

The award-winning Turkish novelist on how Rumi, the Sufi poet, has inspired her writing.

is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey.

Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages – and several have expressed her fascination with Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam.

In this programme, Elif Shafak talks to Razia Iqbal about her interest in Rumi, the 13th century Sufi mystic who made it onto the poetry bestseller lists in America in the 20th century.

Rumi and the mysterious wandering dervish who inspired him, Shams of Tabriz, are both are central to her 2010 novel, The Forty Rules of Love, which has sold over half a million copies in Turkey alone.

The programme also explores Elif Shafak’s self-perception as a Turkish writer and Muslim woman moving between cultures, and the popularity of Sufism in modern-day Turkey and the Western world.

Photo credit: Muammer Yanmaz.

Elif Shafak20120205

The award-winning Turkish novelist on how Rumi, the Sufi poet, has inspired her writing.

Elif Shafak20120206

is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey.

Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages and several have expressed her fascination with Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam.

In this programme, Elif Shafak talks to Razia Iqbal about her interest in Rumi, the 13th Century Sufi mystic who made it onto the poetry bestseller lists in America in the 20th Century.

Rumi and the mysterious wandering dervish who inspired him, Shams of Tabriz, are both central to her 2010 novel, The Forty Rules of Love, which has sold over half a million copies in Turkey alone.

The programme also explores Elif Shafak’s self-perception as a Turkish writer and Muslim woman moving between cultures, and the popularity of Sufism in modern-day Turkey and the Western world.

Photo credit: Muammer Yanmaz

The award-winning Turkish novelist on how Rumi, the Sufi poet, has inspired her writing.

Eng13b Prosperity Gospel (heart And Soul) 12013070620130707 (WS)
20130708 (WS)
20130709 (WS)

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

Etty2012111720121118 (WS)
20121119 (WS)

Hillesum chronicled the events in Amsterdam of the Dutch Nazi occupation. She made a special spiritual transcendence throughout the course of these years. Along with her close circle of friends, many of whom were not Jewish, she tried to retain her way of life. Her cultured evenings of music making and concert going, and her visits to the fine art museums, but slowly her world became smaller and more confined.

By late 1942, she was left malnourished, without any freedom to roam the streets and with only her few possessions - her valued books by writers such as Jung, Dostoyevsky and The Bible, a few pot plants - and of course this diary she kept, to keep her comforted. Etty perished in one of the Nazi death camps in 1943.

The programme also briefly delves into the life of her long-term friend and lover, Julius Spier. It also mentions her brother, Micha Hillesum, who was a successful concert pianist and composer at that time in Holland.

Presented by Thais Sher.

Thais Sher presents a fascinating insight into the life and work of Dutch Mystic, Diari...

Thais Sher presents a fascinating insight into the life and work of Dutch Mystic, Diarist and Holocaust Victim, Etty Hillesum.

Faith On The Border2014092720140928 (WS)
20140930 (WS)

The faith groups of Arizona helping child migrants

Through a fence in the early-summer heat and dust, Catholics from the Mexican side of the border with the USA pressed their faces forward through the gaps as Bishops moved along the line distributing communion. The mass, celebrated across two countries, was held to remember the people who have died crossing the border and to highlight an issue which has leapt to the top of the issues which dominate American politics as it prepares for elections to its senate and congress.

The real battle is not in Washington - it is in the towns and cities that line the border area because up until July over 60,000 child migrants have crossed the border into the US seeking refugee status. Matt Wells travels to the arid desert of Arizona, which has been forced to deal with the massive exodus of child migrants, to see how faith groups have thrown open their doors to the migrants offering food, clothing and comfort, and putting the lessons of their faith into practise on a huge scale.

Matt meets the faithful as they offer shelter in their churches and synagogues. He also meets the anti-immigrant campaigners also driven by their faith, using scripture to argue that charity begins at home and that there is no place for the migrant children in the US.

This highly divisive issue rages on in America's capital but it has also been fought on the streets of its border towns with each side taking their faith to passionately argue their case.

Through a fence in the early-summer heat and dust, Catholics from the Mexican side of the border with the USA pressed their faces forward through the gaps as Bishops moved along the line distributing communion.

The mass, celebrated across two countries was held to remember the people who have died crossing the border and to highlight an issue which has leapt to the top of the issues which dominate American politics as it prepares for elections to its senate and congress.

The real battle isn’t in Washington, it’s in the towns and cities that line the border area because up until July over sixty thousand child migrants have crossed the border into the US seeking refugee status.

Matt Wells has travelled to the arid desert of Arizona, which has been forced to deal with the massive exodus of child migrants, to see how faith groups have thrown open their doors to the migrants offering food, clothing and comfort, putting the lessons of their faith into practice on a huge scale.

Matt meets the faithful as they offer shelter in their churches and synagogues but he also meets the anti-immigrant campaigners also driven by their faith, using scripture to argue that charity begins at home and that there is no place for the migrant children in the USA.

This highly divisive issue rages on in America's capital but it’s also been fought on the streets of its border towns with each side taking their faith to passionately argue their case.

Father Of The Big Bang2012092920120930 (WS)
20121001 (WS)

William Crawley tells the surprising story of the Catholic priest behind one of the most important scientific theories of our time.

Monsignor Georges Lemaître was both a great scientist and a deeply spiritual priest, and his work on cosmology continues to influence our best scientific accounts of the universe.

He came up with the scientific notion of The Big Bang Theory, now one of the most recognisable scientific brands in the world, Lemaitre wore his clerical collar while teaching physics, at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.

It was this unassuming Catholic priest in this modest centre of academia who has changed the way we look at the origins of the universe.

His story also challenges the assumption that science and religion are always in conflict.

William meets men of God, and men of science who knew Lemaitre, to explain how he was able to satisfy his ardent religious beliefs alongside his curiosity about how the world was formed, a curiosity that has radically shaped modern scientific ideas, and how his life-story also challenges the claim that science and religion are necessarily in conflict.

William Crawley tells the story of Father Georges Lemaitre, a Catholic priest in Belgiu...

William Crawley tells the story of Father Georges Lemaitre, a Catholic priest in Belgium who first proposed the Big Bang Theory.

Finding Forgiveness In Oak Creek2013010520130106 (WS)
20130107 (WS)

Matt Wells meets the small Sikh community devastated by a gun man in Oak Creek, Wisconsin

In August last year a gunman entered the Sikh Gurduwara in Oak Creek in Wisconsin and shot six worshippers. Matt Wells travels to the town to find out how the small, modest community has recovered since it was torn apart and thrust into the headlines.

He meets the families of those gunned down to learn how their deep faith has helped them come to terms what happened, but also how it has led to many of the younger Sikhs to question some of the central pillars of their faith and what they mean today.

Some of the progressive young Sikhs in Oak Creek think that the dogma of the Tenth Guru which demands that you observe the "Five K's" is a distortion of the real origins of the faith, and how they feel their religion is being portrayed as out of touch, exclusive and a barrier to real assimilation

The gunman who entered the Gurduwara, Wade Michael Page, belonged to a white supremacist group and Matt meets Arno Michaelis, once a member of the same group, who tells him that it could easily have been him who shot dead the worshippers that day in August.

Photo by Scott Olson, copyright Getty Images News.

Francis: The Pope's Calling2014100420141005 (WS)
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Does Pope Francis herald a revolution in style or substance?

Just over a year ago, the phone rang at the office of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. A man asked to speak to Eugenio Scalfari, the paper's 90-year-old founder and a prominent atheist. The caller was Pope Francis. And so began an unusual friendship, an unconventional piece of journalism and an unexpected glimpse into the character of a man who has taken the world stage by storm. Scalfari drew a picture of a "revolutionary" Pope, set on reforming Church bureaucracy, punishing paedophile priests and re-examining priestly celibacy.

It is just one example of the style that has seen Pope Francis labelled the "cold-call Pope" - someone who has swapped the traditional, measured means of Papal communication for off the cuff statements and direct outreach to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. His informal approach has added to his mega-star popularity and fuelled hopes, and fears, about change in the Catholic Church.

In Heart and Soul, James Harding sets out to understand one of the world's most fascinating and charismatic leaders. How does Pope Francis really operate, does he herald a revolution in style or substance, and can his popularity survive in the face of such high expectations? As Church leaders gather in the Vatican for a Synod looking at how Catholic teaching concerning the family relates to the reality of modern life for the faithful around the world, he asks whether a "revolutionary" really has taken over at the Vatican.

Generation Unexpected: Poland's Jewish Renaissance20140125
Generation Unexpected: Poland's Jewish Renaissance2014012520140126 (WS)

Jewish Renaissance in Poland is fuelled by young Poles discovering their roots

Generation Unexpected: Poland's Jewish Renaissance20140125

Jewish Renaissance in Poland is fuelled by young Poles discovering their roots

Over the past decade Poland has been experiencing what many are calling a Jewish Renaissance - fuelled by a new unexpected generation of young Poles intent on discovering their Jewish roots.

Nowhere is this more evident in Kazimierz, Krakow's old Jewish Quarter. This once derelict neighbourhood is now home to one of Europe's most vibrant and trendiest cafe and bar scenes. Restaurants boasting "kosher" menus and with their names spelt out in Hebrew lettering are filled with both tourists and locals. And every summer tens of thousands more come for the city's annual festival of Jewish music, theatre and film. But what role, if any, has the Jewish faith played in this revival?

Krakow's Jewish Community Centre (JCC) was opened in 2008 and offers a popular mix of Hebrew and Yiddish language lessons and introductory religious courses as well as yoga, a choir and even a social club for 30-somethings to the local community - both Jews and Gentiles alike. Jonathan Ornstein, the centre's director, encourages this mix. He believes that since the fall of communism in the 1990s, Poles have become more open and ready to embrace cultural and religious difference.

Rabbi Avi Baumol tells Heart and Soul a similar story. Since he arrived in Krakow he has met dozens of people who only recently discovered they had Jewish ancestry. Many of those have come to him and to the JCC in the hope of finding a sense of identity and of community. For those like Swavek and Isa practising their Jewish faith has played a crucial role in their journey. Others, like Ishbel, after experimenting with orthodoxy, decide to adopt a more secular lifestyle while still very much considering themselves Jewish.

As Anna McNamee discovers as she travels to Poland, regardless of their optimism there remains a question of how sustainable the Jewish Renaissance will be. Jewish life was all but extinguished by the Nazis during World War Two. What remained was driven underground under communism. In 2011, only 7,508 Poles identified themselves as Jews. And, last November, Poland's Independence Day was marked by far-right demonstrations in both Warsaw and Krakow - an uncomfortable reminder for many of Poland's turbulent past. Can the enthusiasm and energy of young Poles ensure that the Jewish Renaissance is more than just a historical blip?

Generation Unexpected: Poland's Jewish Renaissance2014012520140126 (WS)
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Jewish Renaissance in Poland is fuelled by young Poles discovering their roots

Over the past decade Poland has been experiencing what many are calling a Jewish Renaissance - fuelled by a new unexpected generation of young Poles intent on discovering their Jewish roots.

Nowhere is this more evident in Kazimierz, Krakow's old Jewish Quarter. This once derelict neighbourhood is now home to one of Europe's most vibrant and trendiest cafe and bar scenes. Restaurants boasting "kosher" menus and with their names spelt out in Hebrew lettering are filled with both tourists and locals. And every summer tens of thousands more come for the city's annual festival of Jewish music, theatre and film. But what role, if any, has the Jewish faith played in this revival?

Krakow's Jewish Community Centre (JCC) was opened in 2008 and offers a popular mix of Hebrew and Yiddish language lessons and introductory religious courses as well as yoga, a choir and even a social club for 30-somethings to the local community - both Jews and Gentiles alike. Jonathan Ornstein, the centre's director, encourages this mix. He believes that since the fall of communism in the 1990s, Poles have become more open and ready to embrace cultural and religious difference.

Rabbi Avi Baumol tells Heart and Soul a similar story. Since he arrived in Krakow he has met dozens of people who only recently discovered they had Jewish ancestry. Many of those have come to him and to the JCC in the hope of finding a sense of identity and of community. For those like Swavek and Isa practising their Jewish faith has played a crucial role in their journey. Others, like Ishbel, after experimenting with orthodoxy, decide to adopt a more secular lifestyle while still very much considering themselves Jewish.

As Anna McNamee discovers as she travels to Poland, regardless of their optimism there remains a question of how sustainable the Jewish Renaissance will be. Jewish life was all but extinguished by the Nazis during World War Two. What remained was driven underground under communism. In 2011, only 7,508 Poles identified themselves as Jews. And, last November, Poland's Independence Day was marked by far-right demonstrations in both Warsaw and Krakow - an uncomfortable reminder for many of Poland's turbulent past. Can the enthusiasm and energy of young Poles ensure that the Jewish Renaissance is more than just a historical blip?

Marking Holocaust Memorial Day, Anna McNamee charts a resurgence in Judaism in Poland.

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John McCarthy meets the biblical scholar and historian Geza Vermes.

Fifty years ago this year, the first translations were made of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which have contributed massively to the understanding of the Bible and Christian teachings.

The translations were done by a man who has gone on to be called the most important Jesus historian ever, Geza Vermes.

John McCarthy meets Vermes, who has devoted his career to the historical examination of the Bible and the life of Jesus.

Vermes tells McCarthy his own story of escaping Eastern Europe after his parents were killed in the Holocaust and how he became a Roman Catholic priest.

He left the priesthood and his academic work has become the most-important academic study of the historical life of Christ, although many of his theories about the life and work of Jesus contradict the accepted teachings and beliefs that underpin the worship for hundreds of millions of people.

McCarthy examines how his work contributed to the understanding of the Bible for ordinary worshippers, Christian and Jewish.

(Image: Geza Vermes)

Clive Lawton travels to north Manchester to find out how the growing of Orthodox Jewish communities is affecting the faith.

God And Gays - Bridging The Gulf (heart20110924
God And Gays - Bridging The Gulf (heart20110925

Christopher Landau asks if there is a third way to resolve the divisive debate over how.

God And Gays - Bridging The Gulf (heart20110926
God And The Tea Party20101030

Has the Tea Party movement marginalised America's Religious Right?

Bolstered by victories over mainstream Republicans, the conservative Tea Party movement is looking increasingly like the real opposition to the Democrats in America's mid-term elections.

Its key policy points are low taxation and keeping government at arm's length.

Some believe that this dynamic grassroots movement is marginalizing another, which has been highly influential in US politics since the 1980s: the religious right with its key policies on abortion, gay marriage, and school prayers.

Join Matthew Wells as he goes to Kentucky to find out whether the Tea Party has excluded God from the political agenda.

And find out where it stands on the controversial Islamic centre near Ground Zero in New York.

Photograph: Evangel World Prayer Centre at Louisville, Kentucky.

God And The Tea Party20101031

Has the Tea Party movement marginalised America's Religious Right?

Going For Gold In Ramadan20110820

For all practicing Muslims, the month of Ramadan means abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset.

That in itself is hard enough during the summer months in a country like Britain – but how much harder is it for a top Muslim athlete to fast and train, or even compete?

And what will it mean for Muslim Olympic hopefuls in 2012, when the Games in London open a week after the month-long Ramadan fast begins?

Peter Musembi from BBC African Sport talks to top athletes to find out how they deal with the dilemma.

Among them are Mo Sbihi, the first ever practising Muslim to row for Team GB;

world-class Somali-born long distance runner, Mo Farah;

17-year-old Ambreen Sadiq, the first British Muslim female boxer;

England and GB hockey player and convert to Islam, Darren Cheesman;

and Ali Jawad, the Paralympic powerlifter.

How top athletes deal with the rigours of the Islamic fasting month.

Going For Gold In Ramadan20110821

How top athletes deal with the rigours of the Islamic fasting month.

Going For Gold In Ramadan20110822
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To mark the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the final days before the 2012 summer Olympics, Heart and Soul explores the clash between strict religious obedience and the quest for Olympic glory.

For all practising Muslims, the month of Ramadan means abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset - hard enough in itself during the summer months in a country like Britain - which has daylight well into the night. But how much harder is it for a top Muslim athlete to fast and train, or even compete when Ramadan this year falls over the Olympic fortnight.

Peter Musembi from BBC African Sport talks to top athletes, to find out how they deal with the dilemma, he hears from one of the Britain's top medal hopes Mo Farah, born in Mogadishu but raised in London, he has also deferred his fast in past years.

He meets Mo Sbihi, the first ever practising Muslim to row for Team GB. Sbihi tells Musembi how he has faced criticism for deferring his fast until he is out of competition, and how he has donated his own money to fund meals for homeless children in his family’s home country Morocco.

He also meets an Olympian of the future, 18-year-old Ambreen Sadiq, the first British Muslim female boxer, who tells the programme how she deals with her brutal training regime, while denying herself food or drink for up to 14 hours a day.

Heart and Soul explores how sporting glory conflicts with the honouring one of the five pillars of Islam.

(Image: Mohammed Farah. Credit: AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRANDJONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/GettyImages)

Peter Musembi asks how Olympians will cope with training and competing during Ramadan.

Peter Musembi talks to devout Muslims about balancing their commitment to Islam with th.

Peter Musembi talks to devout Muslims about balancing their commitment to Islam with their desire to be top athletes.

Ground Zero Islamic Center20101023

The controversy that has engulfed New York and the entire US.

The plan to build an Islamic Centre near Ground Zero has polarised the United States and become a key political issue, playing heavily in the mid-term elections.

Does it point to a rise in Islamophobia as some people claim? And what could be the repercussions for America's relationship with Muslims at home and in the rest of the world?

Protestors against the development two blocks from where the World Trade Centre once stood voiced their opposition against the proposal on the anniversary of 9/11.

They claim it is insensitive to the families who lost loved ones on that day and some go so far as to equate it with another attack on America.

President Obama has stepped in to defend the principle of religious freedom and been the target of attacks from the former Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin and the popular conservative movement known as the Tea Party.

Muslims in the USA have watched as the story has been all over the talk shows, generated columns of newsprint and been covered all over the world.

They are concerned by what they see as a rise in Islamophobia, but don't want to give up on the project because they fear it could lead to mosques being banned elsewhere.

Linda Pressly traces the development of a controversy that has engulfed New York, and more widely, the nation.

She hears from some of the main protagonists - including the controversial blogger Pamela Geller who's led the fight against what she insists will be a 'mega mosque'.

Photograph: Former 9/11 Fireman Vinny Forras at Ground Zero.

Ground Zero Islamic Center20101024

The controversy that has engulfed New York and the entire US.

Ground Zero Islamic Center20101110

The controversy that has engulfed New York and the entire US.

The plan to build an Islamic Centre near Ground Zero has polarised the United States and become a key political issue, playing heavily in the mid-term elections.

Does it point to a rise in Islamophobia as some people claim? And what could be the repercussions for America's relationship with Muslims at home and in the rest of the world?

Protestors against the development two blocks from where the World Trade Centre once stood voiced their opposition against the proposal on the anniversary of 9/11.

They claim it is insensitive to the families who lost loved ones on that day and some go so far as to equate it with another attack on America.

President Obama has stepped in to defend the principle of religious freedom and been the target of attacks from the former Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin and the popular conservative movement known as the Tea Party.

Muslims in the USA have watched as the story has been all over the talk shows, generated columns of newsprint and been covered all over the world.

They are concerned by what they see as a rise in Islamophobia, but don't want to give up on the project because they fear it could lead to mosques being banned elsewhere.

Linda Pressly traces the development of a controversy that has engulfed New York, and more widely, the nation.

She hears from some of the main protagonists - including the controversial blogger Pamela Geller who's led the fight against what she insists will be a 'mega mosque'.

Photograph: Former 9/11 Fireman Vinny Forras at Ground Zero.

Ground Zero Islamic Center20101111
Hajj On Wheels20101120

Photograph: A group including blind and partially sighted pilgrims in Mecca.

The pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj, can be a challenge even for able-bodied Muslims.

But the obstacles are infinitely greater for Muslims with disabilities.

Although the Hajj is not a religious obligation for them, many dream of undertaking this journey of a lifetime.

Join BBC World Service journalist Meena Bakhtash as she speaks to Muslims who have undertaken the Hajj in a wheelchair or with a white cane.

Among them are Betty Hasan-Amin, an African American from Atlanta, Georgia, who was left paralysed by an accident at the age of 17.

She has vivid memories of how she did her seven circles around the Kaaba in a basket held aloft by six Nigerian brothers.

Faisal Rao, who was born in Pakistan and contracted polio as a young child, but strongly believes that it is his duty to perform the Hajj like any other Muslim.

And David and Sana Viner from Birmingham in England.

Sana is blind and was overwhelmed by 'seeing' the Kaaba using her hands.

How people with disabilities experience the pilgrimage to Mecca.

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How people with disabilities experience the pilgrimage to Mecca.

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Meena Bakhtash on Muslims who have completed the Hajj in a wheelchair, fulfilling the 5.

Meena Bakhtash on Muslims who have completed the Hajj in a wheelchair, fulfilling the 5th pillar of Islam despite disability.

Hajj On Wheels (heart And Soul)20101118

Meena Bakhtash on Muslims who have completed the Hajj in a wheelchair, fulfilling the 5.

Hasidic Pilgrimage20100922

Two ultra-Orthodox Jews on a spiritual journey to the grave of a revered Rabbi in Poland.

Every year, thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews from all over the world make a spiritual journey, not to Jerusalem, but to the small Polish town of Lizhensk (or Lezajsk).

It's the final resting place of Rabbi Elimelech Weisblum, who was influential in introducing Hasidic Judaism to Poland in the 18th century.

On the anniversary of Rabbi Elimelech’s death, pilgrims come by the plane-load from Western Europe, the United States, and Israel to pray at his graveside, in the belief that he can work miracles for them.

Daniel Gordon follows two of them.

43-year-old Yossi Fachler is an IT consultant from London and a veteran of the pilgrimage – he goes every year in search of a spiritually uplifting experience and a taste of Jewish Poland as his forefathers knew it.

This year, he is bringing along a friend who’s going for the first time – 39-year-old chemist Rafi Misul.

Originally from Italy, Rafi was so inspired by Rabbi Elimelech’s teachings that he named his son after him, and has dreamed of going to the grave for many years.

Hasidic Pilgrimage20100923

Two ultra-Orthodox Jews on a spiritual journey to the grave of a revered Rabbi in Poland.

Hasidic Pilgrimage20100925
Hasidic Pilgrimage20100926

Every year, thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews from all over the world make a spiritual journey, not to Jerusalem, but to the small Polish town of Lizhensk (or Lezajsk).

It's the final resting place of Rabbi Elimelech Weisblum, who was influential in introducing Hasidic Judaism to Poland in the 18th century.

On the anniversary of Rabbi Elimelech’s death, pilgrims come by the plane-load from Western Europe, the United States, and Israel to pray at his graveside, in the belief that he can work miracles for them.

Daniel Gordon follows two of them.

43-year-old Yossi Fachler is an IT consultant from London and a veteran of the pilgrimage – he goes every year in search of a spiritually uplifting experience and a taste of Jewish Poland as his forefathers knew it.

This year, he is bringing along a friend who’s going for the first time – 39-year-old chemist Rafi Misul.

Originally from Italy, Rafi was so inspired by Rabbi Elimelech’s teachings that he named his son after him, and has dreamed of going to the grave for many years.

Two ultra-Orthodox Jews on a spiritual journey to the grave of a revered Rabbi in Poland.

Heart & Soul20090614
Heart & Soul20090620

DANGEROUS MISSION

They face arrest, deportation, and death threats.

Their work is so sensitive that few are prepared to talk about it.

But for this programme, our religious affairs correspondent, Christopher Landau, has persuaded some of them to speak: the missionaries who carry the Christian gospel to countries which are hostile to Christian mission.

Countries where evangelising may put them, and those they lead to Christ, in mortal danger.

Hear their stories, and find out about the huge ethical dilemmas they face.

And discover how their work looks from a Muslim perspective.

Dangerous Mission - stories of Christian missionaries in hostile countries

Christopher Landau investigates the undercover Christian missionaries in Afghanistan who are putting their lives on the line.

Christopher Landau investigates the undercover Christian missionaries in Afghanistan wh.

Heart & Soul20090621

Dangerous Mission - stories of Christian missionaries in hostile countries.

Heart And Soul -tower Of Bable2009050920090510

Faithful souls, doubtful tongues.

Many believers do not speak the language that their religion considers sacred.

They pray in words whose meaning is beyond them, with the notion that their mother tongue lacks the power of sanctity, the truthfulness, of the ‘language of God', be that Hebrew, Arabic or Latin.

But what is it that keeps a language sacred in the eyes of a multilingual faithful? And can a translation ever come close to expressing the divine words of God?

In a two part series for Heart and Soul, Emre Azizlerli looks first at the Bible.

Jews still believe in the sacredness of Hebrew, whereas the Christian Bible is constantly translated and re-versioned to appeal to modern audiences all around the world.

Is something lost in translation, or does speaking the word of God in your mother tongue bring you closer to your faith?

Heart And Soul: The Rise In Orthodox Jews2012092220120924 (WS)

In the quiet leafy suburbs of Manchester in North of England, a huge and important shift in the dynamics of Judaism is being played out.

The area is home to the ultra-Orthodox Charedi Jews who, due to its prodigious birth rate, could soon form the majority of the faith.

Clive Lawton, who describes himself as Modern Orthodox travels to north Manchester with his guide Dr Yaakov Wise to meet the community, which is both a window and mirror on to the whole Jewish diaspora, but he finds, as the community increases in size, so it is becoming more introverted.

He meets Michelle Ciffer who runs the only faith based Sure Start children's centre in the UK to hear the pressure she is under to keep her centre free from the influences of other religions and influences, and how the trend for large families and concentration on religious studies over secular qualifications means that many Charedi families are living close to the poverty line.

(Image: Jewish men in Britain. Credit: PA)

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The powerful Philippine church Iglesia ni Cristo

In the middle of the city of Bulacan, in the Philippines, stands a huge, futuristic building, all steel and glass and surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. With a capacity of 55,000 people, it looks like a venue for the biggest sporting events or concerts from the world’s biggest rock groups.

The arena is actually a church, a modern cavernous place of worship and a huge statement of power and financial muscle made by the Iglesia ni Cristo, one of the most dynamic and influential Christian groups in south-east Asia.

The Philippines is a country where Catholicism has traditionally been deeply entrenched, but the Iglesia ni Cristo are proving to be a formidable spiritual force in the country, despite the fact that only a relatively small percentage of the country are members and the religion itself is only 100 years old. Their financial and political influence goes to the very top of Philippine society, with the President himself attending the building’s opening in July this year.

Central to the religion is the idea that Jesus will return to Earth in the east, creating a new centre of Christianity – an idea that is at odds with the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church. Some Catholics call Iglesia ni Cristo followers apostates and suggest the new religion is a cult, but the religion now has a growing following in the Philippines and commands influence right at the very top of the country’s government.

Against the background of the debate over the Reproductive Health Bill which has split this generally conservative country, Janak Rogers explore who the INC is, and how far the influence of this small but conspicuously wealthy group can spread.

(Photo: Iglesia Ni Cristo arena courtesy of INC)

In God We Trust20111231

Has the Religious Right lost its best chance in a generation to contest the US Presidency?

Just a few months ago, the Christian Right looked set to be growing once more in power and influence across America.

But after a series of blunders, evangelical Christian voters appear much less enchanted with candidates like Texas governor Rick Perry and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Instead, the strongest contenders for the 2012 Republican nomination now appear to be former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon.

Has the Religious Right lost its best chance in a generation to contest the presidency?

And could the nomination go to a man whom many evangelicals see as a cultist, not a Christian?

Matt Wells reports from the first election battleground of Iowa, which is dominated by Christian conservative voters.

Photo: Mitt Romney. In 2008, he finished a disappointing second in Iowa after evangelicals went for a Baptist rival.

Photo credit: AP/ Stephan Savoia.

In God We Trust20120101

Has the Religious Right lost its best chance in a generation to contest the US Presidency?

In God We Trust20120102

Just a few months ago, the Christian right looked set to be growing once more in power and influence across America.

But after a series of blunders, evangelical Christian voters appear much less enchanted with candidates like Texas governor Rick Perry and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Instead, the strongest contenders for the 2012 Republican nomination now appear to be former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon.

Has the religious right lost its best chance in a generation to contest the presidency?

And could the nomination go to a man whom many evangelicals see as a cultist, not a Christian?

Matt Wells reports from the first election battleground of Iowa, which is dominated by Christian conservative voters.

Photo: Mitt Romney. In 2008, he finished a disappointing second in Iowa after evangelicals went for a Baptist rival. Photo credit: AP/ Stephan Savoia

Has the religious right lost its best chance in a generation to contest the US Presidency?

In God's Waiting Room2013062920130630 (WS)
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How religion supports us at the end of life - and the rituals that surround us.

John McCarthy explores the way religion supports our last moments on Earth, and the rit...

John McCarthy explores the way religion supports our last moments on Earth, and the rituals that surround us at the end of life.

India's Tv Gurus20120218

What attracts India’s educated middle classes to TV gurus like Baba Ram Dev?

Having a guru, or spiritual teacher and guide, has a long tradition in Hinduism. But what used to be a personal relationship between guru and disciple has now become a large-scale multi-media business: yoga guru Baba Ram Dev, for example, attracts tens of millions to his TV shows and commands assets worth millions of dollars. Many of his followers are from among the educated middle classes – so what is that that attracts so many people to him and other TV gurus? What does their popularity say about religious practice and spirituality in India today, and where is their influence heading as they increasingly get involved in politics, such as last year’s anti-corruption campaign? Sunita Thackur reports.

India's Tv Gurus20120219

What attracts India’s educated middle classes to TV gurus like Baba Ram Dev?

India's Tv Gurus20120220
India's Tv Gurus2012111020121112 (WS)

Having a guru, or spiritual teacher and guide has a long tradition in Hinduism. But what used to be a personal relationship between guru and disciple has now become a multi-media business in India.

On Heart and Soul this week Sunita Thakur reports on the rise in popularity of India's TV gurus and the impact this is having on religious practise. She speaks to yoga guru Baba Ramdev (pictured) whose TV shows attract hundreds of thousands of people. With a combination of yoga, breathing technique and an emphasis on traditional Indian Aurvedic medicine he claims a range of illnesses can be cured.

And she hears why those who have been turning their backs on the faith of their parents are now rediscovering spirituality through television.

This programme was first broadcast in February 2012.

(Baba Ramdev. Credit: MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunita Thackur on the influence of Indian TV gurus like Baba Ramdev, and the impact they are having on religious practice.

Inside The Osama Bin Laden Imam School20141108

The web of schools promoting the ideaology of Osama Bin Laden in Islamad

In 2007 the radical Imam heading Islamabad’s ‘Red Mosque’ staged a siege. It ended with the army storming the premises. Over one hundred people, including many militants, were killed. But today the controversial Imam, Abdul Aziz Ghazi, has defiantly re-established the Mosque and set up a network of seminaries to promote the ideology of Osama Bin Laden. The seminary has a dedicated ‘Bin Laden’ library, named after a man who is viewed as a ‘hero’ by the school's management.

In 2007 Ghazi became known as the ‘Burkah Mullah’ after he was caught trying to escape the siege wearing a woman’s face veil and robe as a disguise. Ghazi’s younger brother, mother and son were all killed by Pakistani security forces but that hasn’t stopped him from establishing a web of eight schools offering courses to three thousand girls and two thousand boys.

He tells Mobeen Azhar that the school teaches about the principles of Jihad. “It’s up to students if they want to get military training after they leave here. We don’t discourage them.”

The syllabus is a heavy mix of Quranic recitation, Arabic and theology. Science, maths and arts are seen as ‘wordly’ subjects so they are broadly shunned, with many of the schools core texts being written by Ghazi and printed within the seminaries own printing room.

Abdullah is 24 and next year he will graduate from the Imam school. He cites Osama Bin Laden as his inspiration and propagates an interpretation of Islam that recommends stoning, public executions and limited access to education for women. “We all have the same aim. To create a society in which there is no corruption. We want justice for everyone. The only way to achieve that is through shariah law and Islamic state.” Abdullah is amongst eighteen Imams who will graduate from the school this year. He plans to spend the rest of his life propagating his interpretation of Islam across Pakistan.

This hard-line version of Islam is rooted in Wahabi-ism, a puritanical reform movement that pushes a literalist reading of scripture. The Saudi royal family have been criticised for funding the export of Wahbi-ism around the world, although it has no formal ties with the Red Mosque seminary.

As well as classes in Wahabi theology the school provides free boarding, food and medical care to all its students. As a result, the vast majority of students are from lower income families from Pakistan’s tribal belt with some parents relying on the seminary to provide full time care for their children.

At the girls campus, men and women are completely segregated with male staff teaching girls from concealed concrete booths via a tannoy system. Male staff can sometimes teach female students for five years without ever meeting or even seeing them.

Ghazi insists the school receives no formal funding. “People contact me from across Pakistan to make a donation. Recently someone donated a house. Other people donate a few thousand rupees or a car. They donate because they support what we are trying to do.”

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Allan Little chairs a special Papal edition from St Peters Square.

Cardinals from around the world have gathered in Rome to choose the next man to lead the Catholic Church. The circumstances are unique in modern times, the former Pope looms over the decision they will make as the Pope Emeritus. The problems he has handed on to his successor are depressingly familiar though; trust, women’s role in the church and falling attendances in the countries the Catholic church could normally rely on.

To mark the election of the new Pope, a Heart and Soul special from Rome will look ahead to how the future of the church will look, the shifting dynamics globally of the church and the possibility that a new Pope could come from Africa or Latin America. This is a critical moment for global Catholicism. How will the new Pope shape a church with so many challenges ahead?

Allan Little is joined from Rome by Father Mariano Perez Gonzalez who belongs to the Comboni Missionaries and has spent over fifteen years working in South Africa. Austen Ivereigh is the director of Catholic Voices,and acted as press secretary to Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor at the last conclave in 2005. Catalina Ecchevarria who is a high school teacher from Mexico. Dr Martha Heizer the Chair of International Movement We Are Church and Thomas Reese, Theologian and analyst for National Catholic Reporter.

The story of the man behind one of the best selling books of all time, 'The Prophet', K...

The story of the man behind one of the best selling books of all time, 'The Prophet', Kahlil Gibran.

Iona2013110920131111 (WS)

is small Island off the west coast of Scotland, and 1,450 years ago an Irish monk - Columba - landed on its shores and established Christianity. It has been described as "a thin place with only a tissue paper separating the material from the spiritual".

Since then, pilgrims from around the world have made that journey across the sea, to experience for themselves the unique spirituality that is draped over this small island. Tessa Dunlop has been travelling to Iona since she was a child, and she returns for Heart and Soul to ask what it is about it this tiny mass of land that attracts thousands of pilgrims every year.

Her first encounter is on the ferry journey across from the Scottish mainland, where she meets one lady who cannot wait to return to the community that lives and worships on Iona. As the ferry draws closer, she tells Tessa that the sunlight that is breaking through the clouds is "like the fingers of God are opening the sky to the island".

Tessa meets the settled community of around 150 who divide their worship between the Kirk and the Abbey, including non-believers who still appreciate the spirituality of their unique island home.

Iona2013110920131111 (WS)

What attracts thousands of pilgrims to the Scottish island of Iona every year?

Iona2013110920131110 (WS)
20131111 (WS)

What attracts thousands of pilgrims to the Scottish island of Iona every year?

is small Island off the west coast of Scotland, and 1,450 years ago an Irish monk - Columba - landed on its shores and established Christianity. It has been described as "a thin place with only a tissue paper separating the material from the spiritual".

Since then, pilgrims from around the world have made that journey across the sea, to experience for themselves the unique spirituality that is draped over this small island. Tessa Dunlop has been travelling to Iona since she was a child, and she returns for Heart and Soul to ask what it is about it this tiny mass of land that attracts thousands of pilgrims every year.

Her first encounter is on the ferry journey across from the Scottish mainland, where she meets one lady who cannot wait to return to the community that lives and worships on Iona. As the ferry draws closer, she tells Tessa that the sunlight that is breaking through the clouds is "like the fingers of God are opening the sky to the island".

Tessa meets the settled community of around 150 who divide their worship between the Kirk and the Abbey, including non-believers who still appreciate the spirituality of their unique island home.

Tessa Dunlop on the spirituality of Iona.

Iraq's Forgotten Conflict2010042420100425

Iraq's religious minorities who, post invasion, have had to endure torture and killings.

Untold until now is the story of ‘a campaign of liquidation' against Iraq's religious minorities who, post invasion, have had to endure torture, killings, forced conversions and exile.

As troops move out of Iraq, and in the wake of elections, US and British politicians refer to ‘the emergence of a pluralistic democracy'.

Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Louis Sako, of Kirkuk, begs to differ, 200,000 Christians fleeing Mosul alone, in fear of their lives, and 1,000 murdered, is not much of a basis for pluralism or democracy".

It's not just Christians who suffer.

Both Mandaeans, who speak Aramaic – the language of Christ – and the Yazidis, goldsmiths with a history going back further than Christianity or Islam, are fast disappearing, too.

"Does nobody care about what is going on here?" asks Archbishop Sako.

"It's nothing less than the destruction of our ancient and honoured heritage, and our religious and cultural traditions."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, does.

He tells the BBC that he fears it heralds the disappearance of Christianity from the Middle East.

He blames Western ignorance of Christianity in Iraq, which is not about missionaries and converts – it was there long before St Augustine turned up in Britain on his mission of conversion, and half a millennium before the Prophet Mohammed was born.

He also blames "a particular kind" of Islam which, to the horror of many Muslims, has wiped out centuries of fruitful religious co-existence.

Edward Stourton reports for Heart and Soul from Baghdad and surrounding areas.

Just what is happening to these urbane, educated, intelligent minorities? Why is it happening? What can be done? And what hope can there possibly be for that ‘pluralistic democracy'?".

Ireland's Troublesome Priests2012052620120527
20120528 (WS)

Ireland's Catholic priests are on the warpath.

They have left their pulpits in their hundreds and marched on Dublin to campaign for reform and modernisation from a church many of them have served for decades, which now, though, has denounced them as traitors.

For Heart and Soul from the BBC World Service, Ruth McDonald examines how Ireland, once the most loyally-Catholic of countries, has come to a point where its clergy are now at war with the Vatican, over celibacy, divorce and the role of women.

How will this revolution play out in a country still shaken by the scale of sexual abuse, cover-ups by Bishops and an increasing secularisation?

Ruth McDonald meets the rogue priests who are challenging the Pope's conservative doctr.

Ruth McDonald meets the rogue priests who are challenging the Pope's conservative doctrine and the covering up of child abuse.

Islam And Australian Aborigines2014032220140324 (WS)

The trade in sea cucumbers and camels which links Islam and Australian Aborigines

Sea cucumbers, feral camels and Malcolm X. They have all played their part in the centuries-old link between Australian Aboriginals and Islam. Janak Rogers explores this link for Heart and Soul, and how Islam is still playing a role in the lives of many Aborigines from the rural outback to the bustling city of Sydney.

Janak starts his journey in the city of Makassar in Indonesia where teripang, or sea cucumbers, have been caught and traded for hundreds of years. As the trade grew, so the fishermen cast their nets further and further afield, eventually landing in northern Australia. Rock paintings show that Makassans and the Aboriginal people were trading trading for at least 400 hundred years - two centuries before the British colonised this huge island. The Makassans left a legacy of art, music, and faith.

As he travels around Australia, Janak explores more of the connections between Islam and indigenous people. He travels to the central Australian town of Alice Springs where the Arrernte people have lived for up to 50,000 years. It’s here that he finds the trade in camels has played its part in the rise of Islam in Australia. There are around a million camels roaming wild in the outback, introduced by Afghans in the nineteenth century. Janak meets Raymond Satour and Azeem Khan, two of the many descendants of the camel traders, to hear about the role Islam has played in their families’ lives.

From the dusty outback, Janak then moves 3000 kilometres to Sydney. He and meets rugby player and 3-time world champion boxer Anthony Mundine, who introduces himself as “the best athlete to come of this country and even worldwide”. Mundine is a member of the Bundjalung people and converted to Islam after reading the autobiography of American civil rights leader Malcolm X. After reading it, twice, he realised that there were links between Islam and his own spirituality, a link forged by the words of Malcolm X. Janak hears a similar story from other Aboriginals in Sydney.

The Islamic-Aboriginal community in Australia isn’t a big one by any means, but it does open a window into how different cultures lived and traded centuries ago and how they found and shared a common spirituality that lives on today.

Photo shows Raymond Satour, Aboriginal descendant of the Afghan cameleers, at his home in Alice Spring

Islam In The Dreamtime20140809
Islam In The Dreamtime2014080920140810 (WS)
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20140812 (WS)

Islam and Aboriginal Australians

Sea cucumbers, feral camels and Malcolm X. They have all played their part in the centuries-old link between Australian Aboriginals and Islam. Janak Rogers explores this link for Heart and Soul, and how Islam is still playing a role in the lives of many Aborigines from the rural outback to the bustling city of Sydney.

Janak starts his journey in the city of Makassar in Indonesia where teripang, or sea cucumbers, have been caught and traded for hundreds of years. As the trade grew, so the fishermen cast their nets further and further afield, eventually landing in northern Australia. Rock paintings show that Makassans and the Aboriginal people were trading for at least 400 years - two centuries before the British colonised this huge island. The Makassans left a legacy of art, music and faith.

As he travels around Australia, Janak explores more of the connections between Islam and indigenous people. He travels to the central Australian town of Alice Springs where the Arrernte people have lived for up to 50,000 years. It’s here that he finds the trade in camels has played its part in the rise of Islam in Australia. There are around a million camels roaming wild in the outback, introduced by Afghans in the 19th Century. Janak meets Raymond Satour and Azeem Khan, two of the many descendants of the camel traders, to hear about the role Islam has played in their families’ lives.

From the dusty outback Janak then moves 3000 kilometres to Sydney. He meets rugby player and three-time world champion boxer Anthony Mundine who introduces himself as “the best athlete to come of this country and even worldwide”. Mundine is a member of the Bundjalung people and converted to Islam after reading the autobiography of American civil rights leader Malcolm X. Twice. He realised that there were links between Islam and his own spirituality, a link forged by the words of Malcolm X. Janak hears a similar story from other Aboriginals in Sydney.

The Islamic-Aboriginal community in Australia isn’t a big one by any means, but it does open a window into how different cultures lived and traded centuries ago and how they found and shared a common spirituality that lives on today.

Janak starts his journey in the city of Makassar in Indonesia where teripang, or sea cucumbers, have been caught and traded for hundreds of years. As the trade grew, so the fishermen cast their nets further and further afield, eventually landing in northern Australia. Rock paintings show that Makassans and the Aboriginal people were trading for at least 400 hundred years - two centuries before the British colonised this huge island. The Makassans left a legacy of art, music and faith.

As he travels around Australia, Janak explores more of the connections between Islam and indigenous people. He travels to the central Australian town of Alice Springs where the Arrernte people have lived for up to 50,000 years. It’s here that he finds the trade in camels has played its part in the rise of Islam in Australia. There are around a million camels roaming wild in the outback, introduced by Afghans in the nineteenth century. Janak meets Raymond Satour and Azeem Khan, two of the many descendants of the camel traders, to hear about the role Islam has played in their families’ lives.

From the dusty outback Janak then moves 3000 kilometres to Sydney. He meets rugby player and 3-time world champion boxer Anthony Mundine who introduces himself as “the best athlete to come of this country and even worldwide”. Mundine is a member of the Bundjalung people and converted to Islam after reading the autobiography of American civil rights leader Malcolm X. Twice. He realised that there were links between Islam and his own spirituality, a link forged by the words of Malcolm X. Janak hears a similar story from other Aboriginals in Sydney.

Islam Inc.20110604

From Africa to Kazakhstan, a new Islamic network is attracting millions of followers - and billions of dollars.

Inspired by a little-known Turkish Imam, the Gulen movement is linked to more than a thousand schools in 130 countries as well as think tanks, newspapers, TV and radio stations, universities - and even a bank.

The movement's critics claim its aim is to gain power and spread socially-conservative Islamic values around the globe.

Its supporters say it's just the expression of a modern, business-friendly Islam committed to human rights, democracy and providing education for some of the world's poorest people.

Edward Stourton travels to Turkey to find out about the man who inspired what has become a global phenomenon - Fethullah Gulen.

There he meets supporters and critics of the movement.

He also learns about how its combination of faith, philanthropy and business is proving a winning formula in the developing world.

How the Turkish-based Islamic Gulen movement is winning souls and dollars.

Islam Inc.20110605

How the Turkish-based Islamic Gulen movement is winning souls and dollars.

From Africa to Kazakhstan, a new Islamic network is attracting millions of followers - and billions of dollars.

Inspired by a little-known Turkish Imam, the Gulen movement is linked to more than a thousand schools in 130 countries as well as think tanks, newspapers, TV and radio stations, universities - and even a bank.

The movement's critics claim its aim is to gain power and spread socially-conservative Islamic values around the globe.

Its supporters say it's just the expression of a modern, business-friendly Islam committed to human rights, democracy and providing education for some of the world's poorest people.

Edward Stourton travels to Turkey to find out about the man who inspired what has become a global phenomenon - Fethullah Gulen.

There he meets supporters and critics of the movement.

He also learns about how its combination of faith, philanthropy and business is proving a winning formula in the developing world.

Islam Inc.20110606
Japan's Buddhist Temple Bells2010071720100718

There are thousands of Buddhist temples scattered across Japan and most have huge bronze bells - bonshou - which are cherished and revered.

This week's Heart and Soul captures the physical and symbolic power of these bells, and they are awesome, some weighing more than 30 tons.

They are struck on the side by a suspended tree trunk, swung by teams of up to 20 monks.

Some are ancient - one bell featured was cast in the year 752.

Casting a large bell in bronze is a perilous business with a high chance of failure, and Ikko Iwasawa who runs the foundry which cast the largest bell in Japan explains the mystery and ritual as a new bell is being cast.

The head priest of Rengein Monastery, whose bell can be heard 30 miles away, reveals their spiritual meaning and the impact they have on people.

The programme weaves Japanese haiku poems and interviews with the sounds of famous bells in the cities and countryside, each with its unique voice.

Photograph of Japanese bonshou bell copyright Getty Images.

An exploration of spiritual resonance - Japan's beloved huge bronze Buddhist temple bells.

Jihadi Converts20140802
Jihadi Converts2014080220140803 (WS)
20140805 (WS)

Why are Muslim converts more likely to be extremist than those born into the religion?

Converts to Islam are far more likely to be involved in terrorist incidents than those who were born into Muslim families: converts account for around a quarter of terrorist convictions in Britain since 9/11, yet they represent only 2-3% of the UK's Muslim population.

Zubeida Malik investigates why new Muslims appear to be so vulnerable to the call of jihadi recruiters. She hears the stories of converts lured by extremists and how their conversion to, and belief in, Islam transformed them into extremists willing to fight for their faith.

She investigates how these, often vulnerable, new followers are targeted and radicalised by extremists. She meets Yacoub* who describes his life before he converted to Islam. He was, he boasts to Zubeida, one of the top drug dealers in the part of London he lived. He was regularly involved in robberies and burglaries until one of his friends talked of his conversion. Yacoub, curious about his life, read the Qu’ran and his self-taught conversion began while he was in prison for alleged kidnap.

Yacoub works with young people who he fears could take the path to radicalisation. Karim is one such person and he tells how he converted after feeling alienated and angry with his life in London. Following an encounter with a man in his mosque who told him it was ok to kill non-Muslims he stabbed a man and ended up in prison.

Heart and Soul explores how the teachings of Islam are often distorted to recruit young men like Karim and the effects that can have on their lives.

*not his real name

Joshua Dubois2014011820140119 (WS)
20140120 (WS)

Barack Obama's spiritual guide.

Every morning, one particular email pinged into the inbox of President Barack Obama, it was sent by a young pastor Joshua Dubois. President Obama has many advisors, fighting for his ear throughout the day, but for a few quiet minutes every morning, he got inspiration and guidance from this email, which he has described as having ‘meant the world to him’.

Jane Little meets Joshua Dubois, who tells her about that first email he sent to the then Senator Obama, as he prepared to run for the White House. In the email was the 23rd Psalm, ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’. Five minutes later, Dubois got a reply from Barack Obama thanking him for the thoughts, and asking whether he could do the same the next day, and the day after that.

He says, the devotionals have meant the world to Barack Obama, so much so that Dubois recounts how when he took the some time off, he received a call from the president’s office asking where that morning's email was.

Five years and thousands of early morning emails later, Joshua Dubois has published 365 of those daily spirituals in a book.

With Jane, Joshua Dubois chooses five of the most significant spirituals he wrote for the president, covering some of the events that made headlines around the world, such as the school massacre at Sandy Hook in the USA. Jane questions Dubois about the president's faith and how he is regarded as the most secular president in history, rarely attending church as presidents have for generations before him.

Dubois tells Jane why he chose the particular words he did, and also discusses the Bible passages, stories and meditations from other less likely sources such as Abraham Lincoln, Nina Simone and Johnny Cash, which President Obama used to start his day.

The edition was first broadcast in November 2013

Lalibela: The New Jerusalem2013122120140106 (WS)

Can the Christian Orthodox church respond to the rise of Protestantism in Ethiopia?

Lalibela: The New Jerusalem2013122120140105 (WS)

Can the Christian Orthodox church respond to the rise of Protestantism in Ethiopia?

Lalibela: The New Jerusalem2013122120140104 (WS)

Can the Christian Orthodox church respond to the rise of Protestantism in Ethiopia?

Celeste Hicks travels to the unique churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia. The mystery of Lalibela is just how did they do it? Eleven exquisite churches, differing from each other wildly in size, shape and style, connected by a labyrinth of underground tunnels, all carved by hand from a huge mound of volcanic rock in the Ethiopian highlands. Legend says it took the 12th Century King Lalibela - inspired to create a new holy land after a visit to Jersusalem - just 23 years to build the churches; but just a handful of tools have been uncovered by archaeologists and next to nothing is known of the labourers who created them.

Lalibela inspires wonder from local Ethiopians and the scores of tourists who visit it from all over the world. But these churches are not just static relics of a forgotten age, they live and breathe. Every day as the sun comes up over the 4000 metre peaks of Lalibela, local people spend a quiet moment praying to their favourite saints and the Virgin Mary. The Ethiopian Orthodox calendar is alive with special saints' commemorations days and festivals long fallen into obscurity in Western Christianity. On these days, pilgrims from all over the country arrive to pray at the churches, while priests chant ancient liturgical songs, wave incense burners and play traditional instruments throughout the night.

But can these traditions - which some say connect Ethiopian Orthodoxy back to the Biblical King Solomon and placed the Church at the heart of the political establishment for some 1500 years - stay vibrant in a fast-changing modern world? The Orthodox Church has been criticised by many for outdated practices such as kissing pictures of saints and focusing on sacred texts which are not in the Bible. As Ethiopia's economic development takes off, thousands of Ethiopians in urban centres are being attracted to a newer breed of more charismatic and dynamic Protestant church. Added to this the country's large Muslim minority is pressing for greater political representation, and for the first time, the country's Prime Minister is not from the Orthodox Church. Ethiopia is well and truly changing.

Celeste Hicks hears how Orthodoxy are responding to these challenges, and finds out just how strong the emotional attachment is of ordinary Ethiopians to their unique church.

Photo: The iconic Bete St George, considered as the masterpiece of Lalibela. It was the last church to be carved out of the volcanic tuff rock by King Lalibela and his followers, with a distinctive cross-shaped structure)

Leaving The Faith2014011120140112 (WS)
20140113 (WS)

Sarfraz Manzoor meets the Muslims who are leaving the faith.

Pretending to fast while sneaking food, keeping the pretence that you still follow the faith, scared that you may be found out and disowned by your family. Sarfraz Manzoor talks to people who have decided to leave Islam and become a former Muslims.

Sarfraz visits a fairly typical London pub where a group are getting together to plan a stand-up comedy night. All of them describe themselves as being an 'ex-Muslim'. But as the laughter subsides and the regulars at this particular comedy night start to tell their stories Sarfraz find out that there isn’t really anything comical about leaving the faith.

Sarfraz Manzoor meets the group and hears their individual stories, which on the face of it don't sound like comedy material. Some of the members say they have been threatened with violence and others have been shunned by their families, losing all contact with them. Some haven't actually told their families and live a difficult double life, going to the mosque one day whilst quietly attending the ex-Muslims club the next.

Just how dangerous is it to say you are no longer a Muslim, to reject the teachings of the faith you grew up with, which are followed by billions?

Heart and Soul hears how in certain countries, fuelled by laws and attitudes that go back to medieval times, the punishment for apostasy could be your life. Sarfraz hears what drives these young people away from Islam in the first place and explores this sensitive issues around being a Muslim - or not - in 21st century Britain.

This was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in November 2013.

Luther, Bach And Germany2012122220121223 (WS)
20121224 (WS)

Germany is getting ready to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Chancellor Merkel, who has been revealing her Christian faith these past few weeks, says she wants the celebrations to have a missionary element and revive the Protestant spirit. John Laurenson travels to Germany to find out what that spirit is.

For many Catholics, the Reform was a disaster. A splitting in two of Western Christianity which sparked the Wars of Religion. For many Protestants it was the greatest, most constructive revolution the world has ever known, ushering in the Age of Enlightenment.

In Wittenberg, where legend has it that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church launching his rebellion against the Pope-run church, we hear about the ideas that changed the World.

In Berlin, John speaks to Angela Merkel’s biographer about the faith of the most powerful woman in the World and meets an old friend for winter soup and talk of sex, drugs and rock & roll in the Protestant Church of the 1970s.

And in Leipzig, we hear how a Church built on Luther’s peaceful revolution sparked the peaceful revolution that brought down the Berlin Wall. And how, in the city where Johan Sebastian Bach was musical director, the mysticism of Protestantism lives in his music.

John Laurenson travels to Martin Luther's home town ofWittenberg, to find out the role...

John Laurenson travels to Martin Luther's home town ofWittenberg, to find out the role of the Lutheran church in Germany today.

Mice, Mullahs And The Begging Mafia2013060120130602 (WS)
20130603 (WS)
20130604 (WS)

Pakistan’s begging Mafia chasing the religious rupee

In the city of Gujrat, folk law dictates that families should donate their first born to the shrine or face a curse which means all future progeny will be deformed and take on the appearance of ‘human mice’.

Mobeen Azhar meets Dr Qasim Mehdi who says the ‘human mouse’ phenomena is more to do with genetics than superstition. We’ll also hear from Mohammed Ali, founder of the Roshni Project. The NGO works to unite parents with children who have been kidnapped and forced into begging.

Last year over 2000 children were kidnapped in the port city of Karachi. Mohammed Ali believes many of these children will be forced into a life of begging. Mobeen Azhar visits the Roshni Project office and hears from a family whose disabled son is thought to have been kidnapped by the begging Mafia.

Mice, Mullahs And The Begging Mafia2013081020130811 (WS)
20130812 (WS)
20130813 (WS)

Pakistan’s begging Mafia chasing the religious rupee

In the city of Gujrat, folk law dictates that families should donate their first born to the shrine or face a curse which means all future progeny will be deformed and take on the appearance of ‘human mice’. Mobeen Azhar meets Dr Qasim Mehdi who says the ‘human mouse’ phenomena is more to do with genetics than superstition. We’ll also hear from Mohammed Ali, founder of the Roshni Project. The NGO works to unite parents with children who have been kidnapped and forced into begging. Last year over 2000 children were kidnapped in the port city of Karachi. Mohammed Ali believes many of these children will be forced into a life of begging. Mobeen Azhar visits the Roshni Project office and hears from a family whose disabled son is thought to have been kidnapped by the begging Mafia.

Money - Name It And Claim It 12009061320090614

NAME IT, AND CLAIM IT

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

" John 10: 10

Prosperity Theology emphasises God's promised generosity in this life, rather than waiting for riches in the next.

It's an idea that's growing in popularity in the United States and has spread through the Pentecostal wing of Christianity across Africa.

Heart and Soul examines "the Word of Faith, Health and Wealth".

Followers argue that it inspires believers to get better jobs and to fulfil their potential; critics that it equates faith with money, and has directly contributed to the current financial crisis.

As the world recession deepens, and debt and unemployment increase in the United States, Richard Coles ask what happens to a belief system that puts so much emphasis on the philosophy that God wants his followers to be wealthy.

Herat and Soul examines the world of 'faith, health and wealth'.".

More Trouble With Pakistan's White Stripe2013051120130512 (WS)
20130513 (WS)
20130514 (WS)

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

Morocco, Malikis And Me2013090720130908 (WS)

What role can the Maliki school of Islam play in Morocco and North Africa?

Historian Andrew Hussey has been travelling to North Africa for 30 years and has learnt to love the rich cultural and religious diversity of countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.

For Heart and Soul he travels to Morocco to to find out about one face of Islam that particularly fascinates him - Malikism. It is a school of faith that is interwoven with mysticism and music, and Andrew visits the northern parts of the country to explore its rich history and its role in modern Morocco.

He finds a faith that sits happily within a country made up of different races, languages and other faiths. And he discovers that Malikism is a binding force in the country, as the ripples of the Arab Spring continue to spread through the region.

He also finds that the followers of the Maliki rite are proud to be Moroccan and that it has a role to play in balancing the more conservative elements of Islam that have crept into Tunisia.

(Image: Historian Andrew Hussey. Credit: Geoff Bird/BBC)

Morocco, Malikis And Me2013090720130909 (WS)
20130910 (WS)

What role can the Maliki school of Islam play in Morocco and North Africa?

Mourners' Kaddish20101113

Jews throughout the world recite a special prayer, the Mourners' Kaddish, after the death of a close relative.

In Heart and Soul this week, Rabbi Naftali Brawer explores the history and meaning of this intriguing prayer with its strange contradictions.

It's the prayer for the dead, yet it never mentions death; grief is the most intimate of emotions and yet the prayer has to be said in public, and although the words date back more than two thousand years, it may owe its popularity to a medieval ghost story.

Photograph: US-born Rabbi Naftali Brawer works at a synagogue near London.

An exploration of the Mourners' Kaddish, the Jewish prayer recited for the dead.

Mourners' Kaddish20101114

An exploration of the Mourners' Kaddish, the Jewish prayer recited for the dead.

Muslim Scots 12/05/201020100515

How does a strong Scottish identity sit with being a devout Muslim?

In this programme, the World Service's Islamic affairs analyst, Roger Hardy, travels to Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, to meet people who have very much embraced both.

Such as the Islamic scholar who's got his teeth into Scotland's national dish, a stuffed sheep's stomach or haggis; and the Muslim politician who supports Scottish independence.

But we also discover how deep a gulf has opened up between the first-generation pioneers, who founded the Muslim community in Glasgow in the face of poverty and racism, and the young who feel it's time to try something new.

Photograph above, Nida, Nazia and Nazia (from left) are challenging Glasgow's Central mosque establishment.

Roger Hardy goes to Glasgow to find out how being Muslim sits with being Scottish.

Muslim Scots 12/05/201020100516

Roger Hardy goes to Glasgow to find out how being Muslim sits with being Scottish.

Muslim White Female20110910

After 9/11, many Muslims in Britain experienced an upsurge of suspicion and hostility from people around them.

At the same time, paradoxically perhaps, the number of white converts to Islam began to rise.

In Britain, it has doubled in the last ten years – and nearly two-thirds of those who embraced Islam during that time are women.

Miriam O’Reilly meets three of them:

Lauren Booth, a journalist, single mother, and sister-in-law to Britain’s former Prime Minister, Tony Blair;

Myriam Francois Cerrah, a successful child actress who appeared in “Sense and Sensibility” alongside Emma Thompson and gave up her dreams of Hollywood when she embraced Islam;

and Fatiha Iman, who grew up in a family wary of Islam and is now trying to mediate between her English family and her Pakistani fiance.

Miriam explores what drew them to a faith that exposed them to hostility after 9/11, and - in the eyes of their non-Muslim sisters – has forced them to give up much of their personal freedom.

Why women in Britain have embraced Islam after 9/11.

Muslim White Female20110911

Why women in Britain have embraced Islam after 9/11.

Muslim White Female20110912
Muslims In Amsterdam 28/04/20102010042820100429
20100501 (WS)

Five years ago, the Netherlands were in shock following the brutal killing of controversial film maker Theo van Gogh by a Dutch Moroccan Muslim.

At the time, the BBC World Service’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Roger Hardy, witnessed young Muslim men under the spotlight – suspected of extremism, but also crime and drug abuse.

Now he goes back to Amsterdam to see how the Moroccan Muslim community has fared since – and to meet a group that seldom makes the headlines: Moroccan Muslim women.

Among them, he finds young, highly successful power women.

Among them Fatima Elatik, mayor of the multi-cultural district of Zeeburg, who combines her headscarf with a determination not to let young Muslims to be restricted by the Islam label;

and Samira Bouchibti, an MP who speaks on gay rights for the Dutch Labour party - a highly unusual brief for a Muslim woman.

But Roger also wins the trust of women from very traditional backgrounds - like Rahma, a grandmother who's learning how to read and write in her 70s.

Join him and find out why in 21st century Amsterdam, it's easier to be called Fatima than Mohammed.

Illustration above of Fatima Elatik, the young and outspoken district mayor of Zeeburg in Amsterdam.

Find out why in 21st century Amsterdam, it's easier to be called Fatima than Mohammed

At the time, the BBC World Service's Islamic Affairs Analyst, Roger Hardy, witnessed young Muslim men under the spotlight – suspected of extremism, but also crime and drug abuse.

Now he goes back to Amsterdam to see how the Moroccan Muslim community has fared since – and to meet a group that seldom makes the headlines: Moroccan Muslim women.

Muslims In Amsterdam 28/04/201020100501

Five years ago, the Netherlands were in shock following the brutal killing of controversial film maker Theo van Gogh by a Dutch Moroccan Muslim.

At the time, the BBC World Service's Islamic Affairs Analyst, Roger Hardy, witnessed young Muslim men under the spotlight – suspected of extremism, but also crime and drug abuse.

Now he goes back to Amsterdam to see how the Moroccan Muslim community has fared since – and to meet a group that seldom makes the headlines: Moroccan Muslim women.

Among them, he finds young, highly successful power women.

Among them Fatima Elatik, mayor of the multi-cultural district of Zeeburg, who combines her headscarf with a determination not to let young Muslims to be restricted by the Islam label;

and Samira Bouchibti, an MP who speaks on gay rights for the Dutch Labour party - a highly unusual brief for a Muslim woman.

But Roger also wins the trust of women from very traditional backgrounds - like Rahma, a grandmother who's learning how to read and write in her 70s.

Join him and find out why in 21st century Amsterdam, it's easier to be called Fatima than Mohammed.

Illustration above of Fatima Elatik, the young and outspoken district mayor of Zeeburg in Amsterdam.

Find out why in 21st century Amsterdam, it's easier to be called Fatima than Mohammed.

Muslims In Amsterdam 28/04/201020100502

Find out why in 21st century Amsterdam, it's easier to be called Fatima than Mohammed.

Muslims In The Usa20110903

A reporter who grew up in Iran examines America's complicated relationship with Islam.

Karen Zarindast travels from New York to Texas to California, and points in between, to meet Muslims who live and practice their faith in the USA.

She finds some surprising people: a fashion designer who makes cool but conservative women's head coverings, an Imam who preaches about ethical uses of the iPhone, and a retired oil worker who keeps a Qur'an watching over his collection of cowboy boots and country music.

To a man and woman, the Muslims she meets who've lived elsewhere, say life in the US is better than where they came from.

But ten years after 9/11, many say the religious tolerance upon which America was built - and which they knew growing up - is not always evident.

They feel pressure to define for themselves what it means to be Muslim in the USA.

An Iranian visits America to see how Muslims there live 10 years after 9/11.

Iranian Karin Zarindast visits the US to examine its complex relationship with Islam and how US Muslims express their faith,

Iranian Karin Zarindast visits the US to examine its complex relationship with Islam an.

My Name Is Mohammed20110227

Men called Mohammed talk about their lives in Britain today

As Mohammed - in all its spellings - becomes one of the most popular name for boys born in Britain, men from across the country talk about what it's like to be a Mohammed today.

From Afghan refugee Mohammad Razai, who arrived in Britain with little more than his name and is now studying medicine at Cambridge University, to Glaswegian care worker Mohammed Anwar, juggling his own dreams with the expectations of his family, to rapper and spoken word poet Mohammed Yahya, who has set up a unique Muslim Jewish band promoting understanding and tolerance.

He tells how he fled civil war in Mozambique, poverty and racism in Portugal and fell in love with hip hop.

Producer: Sarah Bowen.

Nation Of Little Faith20110827

Estonia is the least religious country in the world - and that's official.

As international surveys confirm, fewer than 1 in 5 people in the northernmost Baltic country say that religion is an important part of their daily lives.

Tom Esslemont sets out to discover why this is so - and whether this means Estonians really have no interest in spiritual matters.

Christianity came to this part of Europe comparatively late, and over the centuries, Estonians associated it with different foreign occupiers - first the Germans, more recently the Russians.

But, as Tom discovers, this does not mean that Estonians have rejected the spiritual dimension of life altogether.

Many involve themselves in a type of earth spirituality which they say goes back thousands of years, and in which sacred hills, trees, and the annual cycle of nature play an important part.

Tom joins them for one of their most important festivals, midsummer's eve, and meets a man who communicates with trees.

He asks whether new Christian groups like the Pentecostals, who have flooded into many former Soviet territories in recent years, stand a chance in a country where the established Lutheran and Orthodox churches have had so little success.

They are the worlds least religious country – but do Estonians really believe nothing?

Nation Of Little Faith20110828

They are the worlds least religious country – but do Estonians really believe nothing?

Nation Of Little Faith20110829
New Jewish Life In Berlin20100807

More than 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and more than 70 since Nazi attacks on synagogues and Jewish shops heralded the coming Holocaust, Berlin once again boasts a 12,000-strong Jewish community.

But native German Jews are in the minority here.

Thousands of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union have given the community a new face, language, and lease of life.

Kristine Pommert meets the rabbis who have dedicated their lives to drawing these new Berliners into the Jewish fold.

Other recent arrivals include young Israelis, among them composer Gilad Hochman, who lost part of his family in the Holocaust.

What drew him to the city where Hitler plotted the extermination of Europe's Jews?

Also in the programme, Evelyn Gutkind-Bienert, Germany's first stunt girl, who survived the Holocaust in hiding in Berlin; and Mimi Sheffer, who came to Berlin to conquer the operatic stage, but instead gave her voice to God.

Photograph: Israeli composer Gilad Hochman at work in Berlin.

Why thousands of Jews have made their home in what used to be Hitler's capital.

New Jewish Life In Berlin20100808

Why thousands of Jews have made their home in what used to be Hitler's capital.

New Jewish Life In Berlin 18/11/200920091121

20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and more than 70 years since Nazi attacks on synagogues and Jewish shops heralded the coming Holocaust, Berlin once again boasts a 12,000-strong Jewish community.

But native German Jews are in the minority here.

Thousands of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union have given the community a new face, language, and lease of life.

We meet the rabbis who've dedicated their lives to drawing these new Berliners into the Jewish fold.

Other recent arrivals include young Israelis, among them composer Gilad Hochman, who lost part of his family in the Holocaust.

What drew him to the city where Hitler plotted the extermination of Europe's Jews?

Also in the programme, Evelyn Gutkind-Bienert, Germany's first stunt girl, who survived the Holocaust in hiding in Berlin; and Mimi Sheffer, who came to Berlin to conquer the operatic stage, but instead gave her voice to God.

Why thousands of Jews have made their home in what used to be Hitler's capital.

New Jewish Life In Berlin 18/11/200920091122
Nigeria In Crisis20120609

Reverend Ernie Rea discusses the role of religion in Nigeria.

In recent months, the radical group The Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people, targeting Christian churches and universities in its quest for a state run strictly along Islamic lines.

Nigeria is oil rich but half of its people live in poverty and corruption and mis-management is rife - but it is also said to be one of the most religious countries in the world.

Joining Ernie Rea to discuss the role of religion in the conflict in Nigeria are Dr Jameel Yusha, senior lecturer in media and politics at Northumbria University, Dr Steven Pierce, lecturer in the history of sub Saharan Africa at the University of Manchester and Dr Leena Hoffman who has just completed her PhD on democracy and patronage politics in Nigeria at the University of Birmingham.

Open To All 11/11/200920091111

The church which played a crucial role in bringing down the Berlin Wall

It was in 1985 that Protestant pastor Christian Führer put a simple sign outside his church, St Nikolai's, in the industrial city of Leipzig in East Germany.

Open to All," it said.

Little did he know that his church would grow into a focal point for the opposition.

Out of St Nikolai's came a movement which eventually helped bring down the Berlin Wall and the Communist regime.

20 years on, Kristine Pommert meets Christian Führer and other witnesses to find out whether without the church, the peaceful revolution would have been possible.

She also explores whether in a city where fewer than 1 in 5 people are church members, Christianity still has a role to play.".

Open To All 11/11/200920091112

The church which played a crucial role in bringing down the Berlin Wall.

Open To All 11/11/200920091114

It was in 1985 that Protestant pastor Christian Führer put a simple sign outside his church, St Nikolai's, in the industrial city of Leipzig in East Germany.

Open to All," it said.

Little did he know that his church would grow into a focal point for the opposition.

Out of St Nikolai's came a movement which eventually helped bring down the Berlin Wall and the Communist regime.

20 years on, Kristine Pommert meets Christian Führer and other witnesses to find out whether without the church, the peaceful revolution would have been possible.

She also explores whether in a city where fewer than 1 in 5 people are church members, Christianity still has a role to play.

The church which played a crucial role in bringing down the Berlin Wall".

Open To All 11/11/200920091115
Poland: Still The Most Catholic Country In Europe? 09/12/200920091212

It's been 20 years since the fall of Communism in Poland, in which the Catholic church played such a crucial role.

A whole new generation has grown up who only know the Communist era from history books and the stories their parents tell.

Poland has joined the European Union - and the Polish Pope, John Paul the Second, has died.

With all that, how is the church faring in Poland today? Is Poland still the most Catholic country in Europe?

Join our Warsaw correspondent, Adam Easton, as he travels to the beautiful medieval city of Krakow to find out.

He meets two young men who are training to become priests.

What's motivated their choice - and are there still enough others like them to keep the church going?

From other young people, we find out what issues they have with faith and the church - and why in some ways, it was far simpler to be a believer under Communism.

Below: Lech and Mieszko, who are training to be Catholic priests in Krakow in southern Poland.

Poland: still the most Catholic country in Europe?

Poland: Still The Most Catholic Country In Europe? 09/12/200920091213

Poland: still the most Catholic country in Europe?

Pope Francis2013031620130323 (WS)
20130324 (WS)
20130325 (WS)

What does the election of Pope Francis mean for the Catholic Church?

When he was handed the Papacy Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio said that his fellow Cardinals had chosen a man from the end of the World, in terms of selecting a Pope they had done. The 76 year old Jesuit is the first non-European to take office for a thousand years, raised in poverty known for his simplicity and humility and now the man who leads Catholics across the world.

To expect radical reform of the conservative Catholic Church is maybe expecting too much, but there is a feeling that Pope Francis could bring a different tone and style to a church which has long been criticised for being out of touch with the rest of the world.

In a special Heart and Soul, William Crawley is joined by a panel to discuss what we know about the former Cardinal Mario Bergoglio, what we should expect from Pope Francis and whether the vibrant Latin American way of worship can revive a tired European based church.Michael Walsh an expert in the Jesuit, Reverend Augusto Zampini an Argentinian Priest now working in the UK. Francis Pimentel-Pinto a Brazilian expert on the Church in Latin America and from Buenos Aries Ines San Martin, Margaret Hebblethwaite Catholic missionary and teacher in Paraguay, and the BBC’s correspondent in Argentina Vladimir Hernandez who has watched the former Cardinal Bergoglio closely over the past few years.

Possession, Jinn And Britain's Backstreet Exorcists2012122920121230 (WS)
20121231 (WS)

Catrin Nye explores the exorcisms taking place in Britain's South Asian communities.

Jinn are spirits that some Muslims believe can enter the body before taking it over. New research in the United Kingdom has highlighted how people from South Asian communities in the UK are blaming the supernatural - concepts like Jinn - for mental health problems. Catrin Nye explores why exorcists are treating mental illnesses with spiritual cures and some British Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus turn to healers rather than doctors or psychiatrists. There is real concern that people aren’t getting proper treatment for their illnesses because of pressure to take the spiritual route and that the healers are operating without any regulation. She is also allowed to attend a number of exorcisms.

Possession, Jinn And Britain's Backstreet Exorcists2013050420130505 (WS)
20130506 (WS)
20130507 (WS)

Catrin Nye explores the exorcisms taking place in Britain's South Asian communities.

Jinn are spirits that some Muslims believe can enter the body before taking it over. New research in the United Kingdom has highlighted how people from South Asian communities in the UK are blaming the supernatural - concepts like Jinn - for mental health problems. Catrin Nye explores why exorcists are treating mental illnesses with spiritual cures and some British Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus turn to healers rather than doctors or psychiatrists. There is real concern that people aren’t getting proper treatment for their illnesses because of pressure to take the spiritual route and that the healers are operating without any regulation. She is also allowed to attend a number of exorcisms.

Prosperity Gospel2013070620130709 (WS)

Why has Prosperity Gospel and its bling style of worship become so popular in the UK?

Prosperity Gospel is a movement within Christianity which says that if you believe, you will be blessed with prosperity. Or, in other words, Christianity will make you rich. The last time Nigerian-born writer Dotun Adebayo returned to his country of birth, he saw a church pastor driving a car through poverty stricken streets, with a bumper sticker that read 'God is great, life is sweet!'

In Nigeria, prosperity and the Gospel are apparently not in conflict. In this programme, Dotun sets out to discover why the prosperity Gospel of his Nigerian upbringing, is flourishing in Britain. He visits the fastest growing church in Western Europe and hears powerful sermons mixing theology, finance and self-help. He meets people who claim their lives have been transformed by the message and others who were left feeling cheated, lied to and lost.

With congregations in their thousands and bank balances in the millions, Dotun explores how the churches raise vast revenues through donations from congregations. Perhaps you can't subject God's work to a financial audit but Dotun seeks to uncover where the money goes and what those that give, receive in return?

Putin And The Patriarch2012081120120812 (WS)
20120813 (WS)

Tom Esslemont reports from Moscow on the relationship between Church and state in Russia.

In a court room in Moscow, a trial has been taking place of Pussy Riot. The anarchist punk rock group who stormed the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, to protest against President Putin.

Their high profile court case has shed a bright spotlight on the close relationship between the Orthodox Church, and Russia's political elite.

For decades - under communist rule - the Russian Orthodox Church was an underground movement, barely tolerated by successive regimes.

Tom Esslemont reports for Heart And Soul on how the Church is now at the top table of Russian politics.

Its charismatic leader Patriarch Kirill, is a confidante of President Putin and they are regularly seen together. But this has disturbed many Russians who feel the church should be a critic of the government, not an ally.

Esslemont meets critics and supporters, who explain to him how, and why the Orthodox Church and Kremlin have become so close and why this relationship is so beneficial to both sides.

(Image: Russian Premier Vladimir Putin (R) attends the enthronement ceremony of Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill in Christ the Savior cathedral in Moscow. Credit: ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

Refuge Bethlehem20091223

The Creche in Bethlehem where abandoned Palestinian children find a loving home

Christians the world over associate Bethlehem with the birth of the Christ child more than 2,000 years ago.

But few of the pilgrims who come to Bethlehem pause to consider that Jesus was a child facing the potential stigma of uncertain parentage.

Just like many of the children at La Creche, or the manger" - a children's home in Bethlehem where unwanted Palestinian children find love and a safe environment.

Children like Fares, who was found abandoned in a box near a checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem; or Ehab, the son of a deaf 16-year-old who was abused by several cousins and neighbours.

Most of these children are conceived out of wedlock.

In a majority Muslim society with a strict honour code, this could spell a death sentence for both mother and child.

At La Creche, desperate young women fearing for their lives can give birth in safety.

Christopher Landau hears the stories of some of the children at the Creche, and meets those who work tirelessly to give them a good start in life - and who find hope even at the toughest times through the joy and affection shown by the children in their care.

Join Christopher as he witnesses an unfolding drama as a young pregnant woman makes her long and perilous way to Bethlehem – will she make it, and can she deliver her baby in safety?

Below: Baby Ehab is 9 months old and deaf, but one of the most cheerful children at the Creche.".

Religion And Revolt20110309

The role of religion in the uprisings in the Arab world and in the emerging new order

It started with the self-immolation of a street vendor in Tunisia last December.

Within weeks, President Ben Ali was ousted and the spark was spreading to Egypt and across the Middle East.

The protests have been fuelled by poverty, exclusion and corruption, and spread by social media.

The countries affected are predominantly Muslim countries, but where has religion been in these events?

What part has it played in the uprisings, and how might it affect the new order?

To discuss these questions, Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts.

Dr Maha Azzam is from the Middle East programme at Chatham House; Madawi al-Rasheed is Professor of Anthropology of Religion at King's College London; and Dr George Joff is from the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Photograph: Muslim and Coptic Christian protesting together in Cairo.

Religion And Revolt20110310
Return To Vukovar20110917

For 87 days in 1991, the world watched in helpless horror as 2000 civilians and volunteers defended the town of Vukovar against tens of thousands of heavily armed soldiers from the Serbian-dominated Yugoslav National Army.

The fighting had broken out after the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.

Vukovar, on the banks of the Danube, became known as "The City of Heroes" for the acts of valour among the untrained army of defenders.

Yet it also has a much darker significance.

The siege brought a new and terrible phrase into common usage: ethnic cleansing.

Former BBC correspondent Martin Bell, who covered the siege 20 years ago, returns to find out how Vukovar and its people are recovering.

He finds the city today is a shadow of its former self: haunted by the ghosts of 1991.

How the people of this Croatian town have dealt with the trauma of the 1991 siege.

Return To Vukovar20110918

How the people of this Croatian town have dealt with the trauma of the 1991 siege.

For 87 days in 1991, the world watched in helpless horror as 2000 civilians and volunteers defended the town of Vukovar against tens of thousands of heavily armed soldiers from the Serbian-dominated Yugoslav National Army.

The fighting had broken out after the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.

Vukovar, on the banks of the Danube, became known as "The City of Heroes" for the acts of valour among the untrained army of defenders.

Yet it also has a much darker significance.

The siege brought a new and terrible phrase into common usage: ethnic cleansing.

Former BBC correspondent Martin Bell, who covered the siege 20 years ago, returns to find out how Vukovar and its people are recovering.

He finds the city today is a shadow of its former self: haunted by the ghosts of 1991.

Return To Vukovar20110919
Riace20131102
Riace2013110220131104 (WS)

On the instep of the boot of Italy is the town of Riace, set five miles inland to avoid pirates. It is now the home to a different type of traveller - refugees.

The death of hundreds of North African migrants off the coast of the island of Lampedusa raised an issue Europe wishes it could ignore - the number of migrants willing to pack their families onto dangerous boats to get away from the sometimes brutal regimes that don’t accept their faith.

For Heart and Soul, John Laurenson travels to Riace to meet the migrants who have settled in the ancient town, reviving traditional crafts, repopulating the local school and keeping alive a town that was dying due to its own migration.

He hears the stories of how faith led them to leave their homes, or be tortured and beaten by authoritarian religious groups. And, how that same faith sustained them during their long arduous boat journey and strengthened them as they made this old town their new home

John also meets the parish priest who echoes the words of Pope Francis when he visited Lampedusa earlier this year - that we see, when we look at these people washed up on Europe’s shores, the face of humanity itself, of Christ Himself.

Picture shows local sign 'Riace: Town of Welcome'.

How Italy's southern town of Riace is being revived by migrants from north Africa

Riace2013110220131103 (WS)

How Italy's southern town of Riace is being revived by migrants from north Africa

Riace2014020120140202 (WS)
20140203 (WS)

Riace, the town that loves migrants.

On the instep of the boot of Italy, where the brilliantly azure Ionian Sea contrasts with the stark Calabrian landscape, a social experiment is in place.

Five miles off the coast is the town of Riace, set inland to avoid pirates. It is now the home to a new type of friendly invaders; ones, though, who want to take advantage of what the town has to offer in a wholly different way.

In October last year, hundreds of North African migrants perished off the coast of the island of Lampedusa, their perilous journey coming to a barely conceivable end. Since then and despite the perilous, potentially deadly journey that confronts them, migrants till set off striving for the nearest part of Europe.

The death of the migrants, as they reached the Italian coast, raised an issue most of Europe wishes they could ignore; the number of migrants willing to pack their families onto dangerous boats to reach safety away from the regimes that don’t accept the politics of their faith.

In Heart and Soul, John Laurenson travels to Riace to meet the migrants who have settled in the ancient town and made it their home; and the families, who have revived traditional crafts, repopulated the local school and kept alive a town that was dying due to its own migration.

He will hear the stories of how faith led them to leave their homes, or be tortured and beaten by authoritarian religious groups, but how that same faith sustained them during their long arduous boat journey and strengthened them as they made this old town their new home.

John also meets the parish priest who echoes the words of Pope Francis when he visited Lampedusa earlier this year, we see, when we look into the face of one of these people washed up on Europe’s shores, the face of humanity itself, of Christ Himself.

This episode was first broadcast in November 2013. Picture shows local sign 'Riace: Town of Welcome'.

Right Livelihood20101002

Can you have ethics and make a living? Or will the squeeze on jobs mean compromises just to pay the rent? This week’s Heart and Soul, looks at the morality of making money and investigates whether the Buddhist precept of Right Livelihood can make even the dirtiest jobs and the harshest workplaces bearable.

Remembering our connectedness to other beings can take the disgust out of some of nursing’s most physical tasks, and every workplace offers an opportunity to practice compassion for our co-workers.

Presenter and Producer: Kerry Stewart of the Encounter programme on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Can you have ethics and make a living? Heart and Soul looks at the morality of work.

Right Livelihood20101003

Can you have ethics and make a living? Heart and Soul looks at the morality of work.

Right Livelihood20110725

Can you have ethics and make a living? Or will the squeeze on jobs mean compromises just to pay the rent?

This week's Heart and Soul, looks at the morality of making money and investigates whether the Buddhist precept of 'right livelihood' can make even the dirtiest jobs and the harshest workplaces bearable.

Remembering our connectedness to other beings can take the disgust out of some of nursing's most physical tasks, and every workplace offers an opportunity to practice compassion for our co-workers.

The programme is presented and produced by Kerry Stewart of the Encounter programme on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Heart and Soul looks at the morality of earning money.

Rise And Rise Of The Georgian Orthodox C20100908

Tom Esslemont explores the astonishing renaissance of Georgia's Orthodox Church followi.

Tom Esslemont explores the astonishing renaissance of Georgia's Orthodox Church following the end of Communism.

Rise And Rise Of The Georgian Orthodox C20100909

Tom Esslemont explores the astonishing renaissance of Georgia's Orthodox Church followi.

Rise And Rise Of The Georgian Orthodox C20100911
Rise And Rise Of The Georgian Orthodox C20100912
Saint Bede2010121820101219

Francis Spufford looks at how Bede, an obscure monk living in a remote corner of England in the 8th century helped shape the history of Christianity.

"My chief delight has been to teach and to study."

How did Bede, an obscure English monk from the 8th century, help shape Christianity?

Secular Jews20090711
Secular Jews2009071120100124 (WS)

NICK BAKER explores what it means to be Jewish and not believe in God.

Secular Jews2009071120100123 (WS)

NICK BAKER explores what it means to be Jewish and not believe in God.

Secular Jews2009071120100121 (WS)

NICK BAKER explores what it means to be Jewish and not believe in God.

Secular Jews2009071120100120 (WS)

NICK BAKER explores what it means to be Jewish and not believe in God.

He loves Jewish food, films, and literature, and he has what he feels is a typically Jewish love of debate.

Yet Nick Baker feels unsure about his Jewish identity because one key ingredient is missing: he doesn't believe in God.

In this programme, he meets secular and religious Jews from Israel, the US, and Britain to find out how they understand the idea of secular or cultural Judaism - and whether he could opt out of the faith altogether.

And he explores whether other faiths - like Islam - have a similar secular identity alongside the religious one.

Sheikh Muhammad Al-yaqoubi2014032920140331 (WS)
20140401 (WS)

Sunni scholar Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi on the moral dilemas of political reform in Syria

Hopeless is a word used often these days about Syria - millions have fled and tens of thousands have been killed in brutal circumstances.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, a Sufi cleric, comes from a prominent family of Islamic scholars who have taught the sacred sciences for centuries.

He was the Friday speaker in the al-Hassan Mosque in Damascus until he was forced to flee the country in 2011 after publicly criticising the ruling Baath party and supporting the Syrian uprising.

Now living in exile in Morocco, Sheikh Muhammad says his role is to provide that hope. Shelagh Fogarty talks to him for Heart and Soul about the moral dilemmas of supporting armed protest, and the role of clerics and scholars in bringing about political reform in Syria.

Shinto20111210

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Japanese belief system Shinto.

A religion without gods, scriptures or a founder, Shinto is perhaps better described as a system of beliefs.

Central to it is the idea of kami, spirits or deities associated with places, people and things.

Shinto shrines are some of the most prominent features of the landscape in Japan, where over 100 million people - most of the population - count themselves as adherents.

In Shinto nature is considered infinitely more powerful than human beings and there is no sense of punishment and no philosophical problem of suffering.

When the huge earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March this year leaving close to 20,000 people dead or missing, the influence of Shinto was seen as one of the reasons for the calm resilience of the Japanese people in the face of great tragedy and why they are now surging ahead to rebuild their economy.

Since its emergence as a distinct religion many centuries ago, Shinto has happily coexisted with Buddhism and other religions; in fact, adherents often practise both simultaneously.

Although it has changed considerably in the face of political upheaval and international conflict, it remains one of the most significant influences on Japanese culture.

With Martin Palmer Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education, and Culture; Richard Bowring Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Cambridge, England; Lucia Dolce Senior Lecturer in Japanese Religion and Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Photo shows Shinto temple in Nikko, Japan.

Shinto20111211

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Japanese belief system Shinto.

Shinto20111212
Sin And The Confessional2014031520140317 (WS)

The secret, sacred ritual where sins are forgiven

Sin And The Confessional2014031520140316 (WS)

For Catholics this is the most important time of the year, Lent. A few weeks ago to mark the start of Lent, the priest placed ashes on the foreheads of worshippers as a reminder of their mortality and the need to examine their own conscience. We come from dust; we return to dust.

In Heart and Soul, Mark Dowd admits that is some time since he last asked for forgiveness in the confessional for his sins, he is not alone, its estimated that only a very small minority of Catholics in the US regularly attend confession, this secretive, sacred ritual where whatever the sin may be, its details remain in the confession box and between the priest and the confessor.

Mark meets Alonso Andino, from Ecuador who tells him why he regularly confesses his sins. “I go every week without fail. It is such a weight off my shoulders to try and make an honest assessment of my life and to know that through God’s mercy, I am forgiven. It is a most beautiful thing,” he tells him.

Is confession just a get out of jail card allowing sinners to wipe the slate clean and giving them license to sin again until it’s time for the next confession? Mark argues that this is missing the point and the Catholics must take a “firm purpose of amendment”, that there must be genuine contrition and not an empty promise of regret, the heart requires a kind of broken-ness to remake ourselves.

Mark assess his own sins not just the childhood sins like arguing with his brother, but the sin of his own sexuality and how the religious side of his conscious dictated that it was sinful to be gay and something he should ask for forgiveness for which led to fierce arguments with his priest

Confession is one of the deep mysterious parts of the church, that requires a special relationship between God and the penitent, as Mark Dowd explores the act of confession, he considers giving more time to the act of confession, reflection and self-examination.

Sister Saints - Women And The Mormons2014082320140826 (WS)

Why are women in the Mormon church barred from becoming priests?

Sister Saints - Women And The Mormons2014082320140824 (WS)
20140825 (WS)

Why are women in the Mormon church barred from becoming priests?

Why are women in the Mormon church not only barred from becoming priests, but are also kicked out of the church for campaigning to change those rules?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons, was founded in America in the 19th Century. It started with just six members – but now claims 15 million worldwide. Women in the church have traditionally taken a supporting role, though some argue that in the earliest days of Mormonism, women played more prominent roles than they do now and that Mormon theology gives more equal status to the sexes than current church practise reflects.

Jane Little travels to Utah, where the Church has its headquarters, to meet Kate Kelly. She was an active mormon, even a former missionary, but then she founded a campaign to ordain women. Kelly was found guilty of apostasy by her bishop and excommunicated. The all-male leadership now regards her as an ex-Mormon, though she clearly does not, and is appealing the decision.

Kate Kelly is not the first women to be excommunicated, and Jane also meets another dissenter who questioned the relationship between women and their Church. But she also finds female members who say they are perfectly happy, that they have important positions in their church, yet ones that are distinct from the men. They say the majority of Mormon women do not want the priesthood - which the church leadership confirms is not on the agenda.

Sister Teresa Forcades20130914
Sister Teresa Forcades2013091420130916 (WS)
20130917 (WS)

A Catalan who has become one of Spain's most recognisable anti-capitalist campaigners

Sister Teresa Forcades2013091420130915 (WS)

A Catalan who has become one of Spain's most recognisable anti-capitalist campaigners

Sita, Draupadi And Kali: Women In Hinduism2013020220130203 (WS)
20130204 (WS)

After the recent gang rape in Delhi, Sunita Thakur asks: can Indians reclaim the place...

After the recent gang rape in Delhi, Sunita Thakur asks: can Indians reclaim the place of women in Indian spiritual discourse?

Survivor Stories20120130

They survived what is still widely regarded as the worst crime in history, and they know that their own time to die is drawing near.

Holocaust survivors, now in their eighties and nineties, meet every day in North London at the world's first Holocaust Survivors Centre of its kind.

Jane Little spends a day with them and hears stories of enormous resilience, unfailing optimism, and unexpected humour.

Among others, she meets

Susan Pollock, who arrived at Auschwitz aged just 13, carrying a sewing machine on her back;

Lilly Ebert, who to this day wears the gold necklace her mother gave her, which she managed to hide in the death camp;

Freddie Knoller, who despite all that happened to him, is very clear that he believes in God and loves being a Jew.

But what do Jewish religious practice and the Yiddish culture of the shtetl mean to the other surivvors as their numbers dwindle?

And why is it that the soup at the centre is always thick and steaming hot?

Photo: Lilly Ebert shows the angel necklace which she hid in her shoe at Auschwitz.

Holocaust survivors share their stories of optimism, resilience and faith.

Tendulkar: The Living God2013111620131117 (WS)
20131118 (WS)

In the world of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar is the one true global superstar and one of the richest sports people on the planet. In India, he is idolised as a God, part of a rich and ancient Hindu tradition of worshiping living beings.

Rahul Tandon explores the living Gods of Hinduism and he starts his journey in Calcutta as Tendulkar makes his 199th and penultimate appearance for the country that idolises him. And, because of his place in India’s society and their devotion to the sport of cricket, millions of Indians believe that Tendulkar’s potential has in fact been realised, and they revere him as a God as part of their Hindu faith.

Professor Shubhada Joshi is the head of the philosophy department at Mumbai University. She tells Rahul that “Having another god does not matter here; you have to remember that in Hinduism we believe that every human being has the potential to be divine”.

To see the clearest example of a man who has been elevated to a god like status, Rahul travels to Shirdi, 300km from Mumbai. It was here that Sai Baba lived in the 19th Century - a simple man, who became a fakir, or a wandering holy man. He never claimed to be a god, but has become one. Hundreds of thousands of his followers make the pilgrimage to pray to him every year, some taking days to walk to his home town. Rahul finds their faith strong, absolute, and very moving and hears from one disciple that if you believe in Sai Baba, you will get what you want, even material wealth.

Sachin Tendulkar denies he is God, his humility wouldn’t allow it, but as he brings his record-breaking cricket career to its end, the millions of Indians glued to their radios and televisions for his last match would beg to differ.

Image shows a Tendulkar fan celebrating.

Sachin Tendulkar and the living Gods of Hinduism

Thabo Makgoba The Archbishop Of Cape Town.20131005
Thabo Makgoba The Archbishop Of Cape Town.2013100520131007 (WS)
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Desmond Tutu's successor talks about education, apartheid, gun running, and homosexuality

Thabo Makgoba The Archbishop Of Cape Town.2013100520131006 (WS)
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Desmond Tutu's successor talks about education, apartheid, gun running, and homosexuality

Archbishop Thabo Madiye Makgoba is a man with a mission. He is also very well placed to fulfill it. The youngest ever bishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa believes that the quest for social justice and equality is only attainable through education.

He has an evangelical sense of purpose about this, so he uses whatever platform - pulpit, social media or political and business connections - to widen access to education for all. He believes that education is an end in itself - an end to poverty, and end to oppression, an end to injustice.

How did he know this? Because of an innate sense that people need to have their sense of honour protected, their dignity restored. And as the great grandson of a king who was beheaded in the colonial wars of the 1890s, he has a historical sense of the importance of restoration.

His family moved to Alexandra township after being dispossessed of ancestral land in what is now Limpopo Province in South Africa. Some of that land has been handed back to his community through a land restitution process. But the young Thabo and his family were once again displaced in the forced removals perpetrated by the apartheid government during the 1960s and 1970s, to clear black communities from lucrative land close to urban centres around the country.

Today Thabo Makgoba is well connected to the political elite in charge. But he's not afraid to tell his former comrades where they're going wrong. And with elections coming up next year, many of South Africa's poorest, most desperate people are thankful that he uses the pulpit to speak on their behalf.

Just like his most illustrious predecessor, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu.

The Bhagavad Gita20110718

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Bhagavad Gita.

The Bhagavad Gita - a 700-verse section of the Sanskrit epic the Mahabharata - is one of the most revered texts of Hinduism.

Written in around 200 BC, it narrates a conversation between Krishna, an incarnation of the deity, and the Pandava prince Arjuna.

It has been described as a concise summary of Hindu theology, a short work which offers advice on how to live one's life.

The Gita is also a philosophical work of great richness and influence.

First translated into English in the 18th Century, it was quickly taken up in the West.

Its many admirers have included Mahatma Gandhi, whose passion for the work is one reason that the Bhagavad Gita became a key text for followers of the Indian Independence movement in the first half of the 20th Century.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the most revered texts of Hinduism.

The Black Cube 25/11/200920091125

The black cube at the heart of Mecca and its connection with Western culture.

The Ka'aba is the Black Cube at the heart of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

It is the holiest shrine of Islam, encircled by millions of pilgrims every year, and tradition asserts it was built by Abraham on the foundations of the first house of Adam.

In Heart and Soul – The Black Cube, Navid Akhtar looks at the ways the Black Cube has intersected with Western culture, from the work of painters like the Russian constructivist Malevich, to our desire for simplified geometric buildings.

He discovers connections between the rituals of the pilgrimage to Mecca and Western thought.

The Ka'aba is the Black Cube in Mecca, the holiest shrine of Islam, Navid Akhtar looks.

The Ka'aba is the Black Cube in Mecca, the holiest shrine of Islam, Navid Akhtar looks at how it has intersected with the West.

The Black Cube 25/11/200920091126

The black cube at the heart of Mecca and its connection with Western culture.

The Black Cube 25/11/200920091128

The Ka'aba is the Black Cube at the heart of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

It is the holiest shrine of Islam, encircled by millions of pilgrims every year, and tradition asserts it was built by Abraham on the foundations of the first house of Adam.

In Heart and Soul – The Black Cube, Navid Akhtar looks at the ways the Black Cube has intersected with Western culture, from the work of painters like the Russian constructivist Malevich, to our desire for simplified geometric buildings.

He discovers connections between the rituals of the pilgrimage to Mecca and Western thought.

The Ka'aba at The Holy Mosque in Makkah, courtesy of Abdulrahman AlMutairi

The black cube at the heart of Mecca and its connection with Western culture.

The Black Cube 25/11/200920091129
The Boys: Remembering The Holocaust20140719
The Boys: Remembering The Holocaust2014071920140721 (WS)
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The child survivors of Nazi concentration camps keeping memories of the Holocaust alive

In 1945 the British government offered to allow 1,000 child survivors of the Nazi concentration camps to settle in the UK. The Nazi killing machine had been so brutal that only 732 could be found. With no families left to look after them, they were airlifted to Britain and rehabilitated together. They have been in close contact with each other ever since, serving as the family they had lost.

The Boys are getting old though and sadly dying off and the danger is that the survivors who bear the scars of the Holocaust will take the memories with them.

Jake Wallis Symons meets the Boys of ‘The 45 Aid Society’ to ask whether the Holocaust is something that could actually fade from memory, and whether there should be a Jewish religious holiday observed across the faith.

He meets Sue Bermange who was part of what she describes as a 'double-act' with her father, Bob Obuchowski, a holocaust survivor and another one of The Boys. Together, they visited dozens of schools, between them telling of how he survived first the Lodz ghetto and then Auschwitz and other concentration camps. It is a measure of Obuchowski’s spirit that he managed to attend this year’s reunion – in a wheelchair, just weeks before he died of terminal cancer in June. Now Bermange is determined to carry on without him. “I want to take over, and instead of doing an introduction I will be telling his story from start to finish using photos and slides,” she announces. “When the last survivor doesn't speak anymore, the second generation will step in.

Wallis Symons asks whether a day of religious observance built into the Jewish calendar would ensure the Holocaust story is told for the future generations. The Chief Rabbi of the UK Ephraim Mirvis tells him that, because of the diversity of the faith, there would never be a total agreement on a religious holiday but that the Holocaust is remembered 365 days a year by Jews around the world.

The City Of Kaduna20131012
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In the city of Kaduna in northern Nigeria, the most normal of activities - a Saturday afternoon football match - can take on enormous significance. The city is divided by the river Kaduna into a Muslim-dominated north and a Christian-dominated south. The inter-religious violence has lasted 20 years.

But two youth teams - the mainly Muslim Zooboys and the mainly Christian YMCA teams - agreed to a game to celebrate world peace day.

Celeste Hicks explores how economic and social pressures in this rapidly-growing city have exacerbated tensions between communities, who for years traditionally lived side by side. Post-election violence in 2011 - after supporters of the opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim, clashed with those of the winning PDP candidate Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian - has only entrenched animosity and suspicion further.

Kaduna is in the centre of Nigeria and at the heart of the precariously balanced country, a microcosm of tensions seen across the north of Nigeria in a zone sometimes called the 'Middle Belt' - where the desert Muslim-dominated north meets the more verdant Christian-dominated south. The violence of Boko Haram and inter-religious violence in cities such as Jos continue to send shockwaves across the region.

What hope is there for reconciliation between Christians and Muslims? This documentary meets the courageous Interfaith Mediation Centre, led by Pastor James Wuye and Imam Muhammed Ashafa. Based in Kaduna, they travel across the whole of the north of Nigeria trying to encourage the two communities to see eye to eye. Can simple activities like a community football match heal the divide? It asks if communities can truly forgive and forget without justice and reconciliation.

The social fabric of a city divided between Nigeria's Muslim and Christian populations

The Copts And The Constitution2012112420121125 (WS)
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In an elaborate ceremony in the breath-taking St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, Bishop Tawadros the Second was enthroned as the 118th Coptic Pope of Egypt, just a matter of weeks after his names was pulled from a glass bowl by a blindfolded schoolboy. Coptic Christians make up the largest Christian minority in the Middle East, but since the 2011 revolution, Islamists have taken control of the presidency and also dominate the body that is writing the new Egyptian constitution.

Magdi Abdelhadi reports from Cairo on the fears of Egypt’s Christians that they will become further marginalised and discriminated against in a country that has been their home for nearly two thousand years and what the new constitution and a new Pope will mean for Copts in post-revolution Egypt.

Image: Bishop Tawadros II, left, receives a document from Bishop Pachomius, right, Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Magdi Abdelhadi looks at what this week's choosing of a new Coptic pope will mean for t...

Magdi Abdelhadi looks at what this week's choosing of a new Coptic pope will mean for the 10 million Coptic Christians in Egypt.

The Dalai Lama20110411

For over 50 years, the Dalai Lama has been the unifying force for Tibet's Buddhists, both in Tibet itself and for Tibetans living in exile, in India and elsewhere.

He has also been a figurehead of the campaign for freedom for Tibet, and a thorn in the side of the Chinese government, who accuse him of wanting to split China and stirring up ethnic strife between Tibetans and Han Chinese.

Now the Nobel Peace Prize winner has decided to step down from his political role.

Tinku Ray goes to Dharamsala in Northern India, where the Dalai Lama lives, to meet the 75-year-old and find out why he feels it is time to pass on his political powers into new hands.

She also finds out what he makes of the possibility that the Chinese authorities might set up a Dalai Lama of their own choosing after his death, and hears how the man who boasts more than 1.5 million followers on Twitter has embraced the world of social media.

Tinku Ray in conversation with the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama in conversation, about stepping down as Tibet's political leader, who wi.

The Divinity Of Haile Selassie2014091320140916 (WS)

How did the Ethiopian King, Haile Selassie - who lived a life of luxury whilst his country suffered a deep famine - become the god for the Rastafari community? To millions he was a leader, to many others he was an oppressor, but to a small worldwide community known as the Rastafari he is divine and the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Now, 40 years after Haile Selassie was deposed as leader of Ethiopia, Dr Robert Beckford explores the religious, political and social dynamic that propelled a whole community to worship Selassie as a living god.

He investigates the controversy in Ethiopia about Salassie’s godly status, and as the Rastafari community grapples with falling numbers, Beckford meets the man trying to re-energise the religion and campaigning to have Selassie made a saint in the Ethiopian Church.

But for many Rastafarians, bestowing sainthood on their spiritual leader won’t change anything. He is, to them, simply the messiah. But how did this adoration come to be?

The Enigma Of Sara-la-kali20140712
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Tessa Dunlop visits Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer to honour Sara-la-Kali.

Every year in May, thousands of Gypsies and travelling people from across Europe converge on the small French town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer to venerate their enigmatic patron saint, Sara-la-Kali, or Black Sara.

Sara-la-Kali is not an official saint of the Catholic Church, but her name has become linked to the two Mary's after whom this town is named. Mary Salome and Mary Jacobe are mentioned in the Gospels as mothers of Jesus’s apostles and are said to have brought Christianity to this part of France. In keeping with her unofficial status, Sara-la-Kali’s statue is kept in the crypt of the impressive medieval parish church, while the two Marys’ relics take pride of place in the High Chapel above the altar.

Tessa Dunlop joins the pilgrims to find out more about Sara-la-Kali’s origins and how she came to be linked with the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer story. She discovers that there are different stories about where Sara came from, and it’s this mystery that’s so appealing to the Gypsies, whose own origins have been the subject of speculation over the centuries.

One local resident and worshipper, Martine Guillot, tells Tessa that for her, Sara is an icon of love and welcome and worshipping with the travellers strengthens her own faith.

But not all the residents of this small town are happy to see the caravans roll into town. As the travellers make camp, bars and shops close down, fearful of the unrest that has been a feature of the festival in previous years. Tessa also explores the views of the town’s long serving Mayor, Roland Chassain, a friend and member of the same political party as the former President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who in 2010 was criticized by the European Union for his expulsion of Roma Gypsies from France.

As she follows Sara-la-Kali down to the beach where she is ritually immersed in the waters of the Mediterranean, Tessa is caught up in the Gypsies’ devotion to Sara, a constant icon for these people whose outsider status is reflected in their adored saint.

The Father Of The Big Bang2013020920130210 (WS)
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William Crawley tells the story of the Catholic priest behind the Big Bang Theory.

William Crawley tells the surprising story of the Catholic priest behind one of the most important scientific theories of our time. Monsignor Georges Lemaître was both a great scientist and a deeply spiritual priest, and his work on cosmology continues to influence our best scientific accounts of the universe. He came up with the scientific notion of The Big Bang Theory, now one of the most recognisable scientific brands in the world, Lemaitre wore his clerical collar while teaching physics, at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. It was this unassuming Catholic priest in this modest centre of academia who has changed the way we look at the origins of the universe. His story also challenges the assumption that science and religion are always in conflict. William meets men of God, and men of science who knew Lemaitre, to explain how he was able to satisfy his ardent religious beliefs alongside his curiosity about how the world was formed, a curiosity that has radically shaped modern scientific ideas, and how his life-story also challenges the claim that science and religion are necessarily in conflict.

The Inner Life Of Arianna2014053120140601 (WS)
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The spiritual journey of Arianna Huffington of news internet site The Huffington Post

Arianna Huffington is a woman of many parts: media mogul, author, failed politician, celebrity magnet and reinvention artist. She founded the website The Huffington Post which made her a millionaire. The site is now said to be the world’s second biggest news website. She’s been named by Time Magazine as among the 100 most influential people in the world.

She’s also become something of an evangelist. In this week’s Heart and Soul, Arianna Huffington talks to Jane Little about her spiritual journey via Greece, India, England and the US, why waking up in her own pool of blood prompted her to re-evaluate success, and how she wants us all to connect more with our souls, God, and each other.

Presenter: Jane Little

The King And The Arab Spring2012110320121104 (WS)
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Morocco has so far avoided the turmoil that has led to the revolutions and bloody regime changes of some of its Arab neighbours. Morocco is run on strict Islamic lines, and its King, Mohammed VI is said to be a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed.

John Laurenson has travelled to Morocco to find out how the King has had to cede some of his powers to the people, and how this will change the nature of religion in the country, where until recently the King was known as ‘sacred or holy" but still retains the title of ‘Commander of the Faithful’.

He meets the people who worship the King and Morocco with religious zeal, but this has thrown Morocco into conflict with its own people and the outside world.

John investigates whether this will lead to Morocco being able to maintain its position as the Arab country that has not been affected by the revolutions that have changed so many of the countries in the region.

(Image: King Mohammed VI of Morocco parading on horseback at the Royal Palace in Rabat, Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

John Laurenson finds out how the role of Morocco's King has been affected by the turmoi...

John Laurenson finds out how the role of Morocco's King has been affected by the turmoil in some of its Arab neighbours.

The Last Sikh Warrior20111029

It ranks alongside Chinese Kung Fu or the Samurai Bushido, yet the ancient Indian martial art of Shastar Vidiya is nearly forgotten - not least because the British colonial masters banned it after the Anglo-Sikh wars.

After centuries of practicing its fearsome techniques, Sikh fighters in Punjab were shot on sight for simply carrying a sword.

Now the last known master of the art, Nidar Singh Nihang, is searching for a successor to carry the tradition forward.

Ironically, he grew up in Britain, in the English Midlands town of Wolverhampton.

As a child, he was sent to live with relatives in Punjab, where a chance meeting with an elderly man changed his life.

The man was an ageing warrior who could trace his lineage back to the time of the Sikh Gurus.

He introduced young Nidar to the secrets of Shastar Vidiya, or the knowledge of weapons.

Hardeep Singh Kohli joins Nidar Singh Nihang as he searches for his own successor among young Sikhs in Britain.

(Photo shows Nidar Singh Nihang, the last Sikh warrior.

Copyright: Rajbir Hundal 2011)

The extraordinary story of one Sikh master keeping an ancient martial art alive.

The Last Sikh Warrior20111030

The extraordinary story of one Sikh master keeping an ancient martial art alive.

The Last Sikh Warrior20111031
The Last Wish Of A Prince2014090620140909 (WS)

Should the remains of Sikh Prince Maharaja Duleep Singh be returned to India?

Hardeep Singh Kohli follows the campaign trail to have Maharaja Duleep Singh's remains exhumed and returned to India. If successful this will be history in the making, as some in the Sikh community believe the dying wishes of the Prince will finally be granted.

Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, was befriended by Queen Victoria during the British Raj. In his later years he was stopped by the British Government from returning to India and he died alone in Paris. His body was brought back to Britain and buried in Elveden in Suffolk.

Now a Sikh charity want his body to be returned to India and to carry out what they claim was the last wish of a Prince. On a fascinating and emotional journey, Hardeep Singh Kohli discovers that their campaign is proving highly controversial, as the evidence that it was his last wish to be buried in the capital of the Punjab is not clear cut.

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Heart and Soul on Lebanon's Maronite Christians, who trace their history to biblical times

For some it is “a country of casinos and prostitutes”. For others, one of freedom unrivalled in the Arab World. Once a by-word for religious war, two successive Popes have visited Lebanon and called it a message to the world of how different religions can live side by side in a spirit of mutual respect and harmony. If all of these things are more or less true, it is because Lebanon is an Arab country that has been moulded like no other by Christianity and Christian culture.

In this edition of Heart and Soul, John Laurenson will be meeting a hermit in his mountain cave and the Archbishop of Beirut, a Syrian refugee and a woman who survived a terrorist attack on her life thanks to Lebanon’s Saint Charbel.

With the Christian population dwindling and war threatening to spill over the border from Syria, can the Lebanese message survive?

John travels to Lebanon to discover this country’s ancient and extraordinary Maronite Church and the hopes and fears of these Arab Catholics “afloat on a Muslim sea.”

Image shows Brother Dario, a hermit who's a member of the Lebanese Maronite Order.

The Man Behind The Prophet2012050520120507

Ian Skelly traces the story of the enigmatic man behind best-selling classic The Prophet

‘The Prophet’ is the most famous work of the Lebanese-American poet and artist, Kahlil Gibran. Translated into more than 50 different languages, it has sold over 100 million copies worldwide, and since its first publication in 1923, it has never been out of print. In America it remains the best-selling book after the Bible.

This small book of 26 prose poems deals with the big questions of life - such as love, marriage, children, pain, death- delivered as sermons by a fictional wise man, Al Mustapha.

But whilst his words have been quoted in countless weddings and funerals, and inspired world leaders like Indira Gandhi, Gibran the man, remains an enigma to many people.

Who were the key influences on him? How much of his own life experiences are in the book? Why did he never marry, even though love was central to everything he wrote? And what is the secret of The Prophet’s enduring and universal appeal?

Ian Skelly visits Gibran’s home village in the mountains of Lebanon, and retraces his steps to find out how a young boy, who was raised in poverty and received little formal education as a child, went on to become one of the most popular writers of the century.

Skelly speaks to Jean Gibran, who was married to Gibran’s cousin and godson in Boston, about her husband’s memories of the poet.

He also discovers the events that shaped him and one key relationship which was to prove pivotal to his life and career.

And by going to Lebanon, Ian finds out why Gibran’s voice resonates with the current turmoil in the Arab world.

‘The Prophet’ is the most famous work of the Lebanese-American poet and artist, Kahlil Gibran. Translated into more than 50 different languages, it has sold over 100 million copies worldwide, and since its first publication in 1923, it has never been out of print. In America it remains the best-selling book after the Bible.

Who were the key influences on him? How much of his own life experiences are in the book? Why did he never marry, even though love was central to everything he wrote? And what is the secret of The Prophet’s enduring and universal appeal?

Ian Skelly visits Gibran’s home village in the mountains of Lebanon, and retraces his steps to find out how a young boy, who was raised in poverty and received little formal education as a child, went on to become one of the most popular writers of the century.

Skelly speaks to Jean Gibran, who was married to Gibran’s cousin and godson in Boston, about her husband’s memories of the poet.

And by going to Lebanon, Ian finds out why Gibran’s voice resonates with the current turmoil in the Arab world.

The Man Behind The Prophet20120507

Ian Skelly traces the story of the enigmatic man behind best-selling classic The Prophet.

The Man Who Turned The World Upside Down2013042020130421 (WS)
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What we can learn about the new Pope from St Francis

Taking the name of Francis, the new Pope has brought a bit of the poverty-loving saint to the Vatican. Heart and Soul has travelled to the Italian town of Assisi where St. Francis lived and died, to hear reactions there and find out about the enduring appeal of this saint.

To appreciate the legacy of St Francis, in the town he took the name of, you may need to look high above you. It's painted into the walls and ceilings of the churches that pepper the Umbrian town. But his spiritual legacy was boosted when high above St Peter's Square, the new Pope was named as the first Pope Francis and the life of the 13th Century saint was evoked when ‘Papa Francesco’ credited him as his inspiration.

John will hear how the wealthy Francis, the son of an affluent trader, gave up his wealth, stood naked before God and pledged his life to him and to rebuild his church and how he travelled, spreading the word of God in a bid to re-evangelise Christians and how that phrase has been used to describe the focus of Pope Francis for today's Church.

He will meet the devotees of St Francis and ask what it means to them for the new Pope to take their Saint's name.

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Pope Francis visits Assisi, the home of St Francis

In March, Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio was made Pope, taking on the name of Francis, and immediately the new Pope brought a taste of the loved saint to the Vatican. As he prepares to make his first visit as Pope to the town of Assisi, Heart and Soul travels to where St Francis lived and died, to hear about the enduring appeal of this saint.

John Laurenson hears how the wealthy Francis, the son of an affluent trader, gave up his wealth, stood naked before God and pledged his life to him - and committed to rebuilding his church. St Francis travelled, spreading the word of God in a bid to re-evangelise Christians. 'Re-evangelise' is a term that has been used to describe the focus of Pope Francis for today's Church.

In the months since he first stood on the balcony overlooking St Peter's Square, greeting the crowd with a simple ‘Good Evening’, his Papacy has been a lighter, humbler, almost unscripted one and much has been made of him forgoing the trappings of his role as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

John will meet the devotees of St Francis and asks them what it means for the new Pope to take their Saint's name and whether in doing so he has also adopted some of the characteristics of the much loved saint.

The Mourner's Kaddish20100313
The Mourner's Kaddish20100314
The Power And The Faith - Romania’s Orthodox Church2013080320130804 (WS)
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The power of the Orthodox Church in Romania

Every three days a new church is built in Romania, wander through any small town or village and you will pass 2 or even 3 churches, many of them opulent palaces, symbols of the devotion of the people in this most religious of countries, one of the most religious in the world in fact. Romania has another claim; it is one of Europe’s poorest countries, but that hasn’t stopped the church soaking up millions in state funding, money the state nor its people can afford

Tessa Dunlop first travelled to Romania over 20 years ago in the days after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe; she has married into a Romanian family and witnesses the devotion to God and the church every time she visits her family.

She returns to Romania for Heart and Soul and meets Elena. ‘Christ has Risen’ she says, a familiar greeting amongst Romanians. Elena lives simply but devoutly and reminds Tessa that with what’s happening to her poverty-ridden country it’s important to worship God.

Tessa meets more of the faithful of Romanian priests and nuns in a country where 90% of the populations say they are Orthodox but also questions how this country can afford to fund religion, build new churches and pay more priests when its economy is in such a bad state.

The Priest And His Cathedral Of Football20140614
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The priest who built a football stadium

Padre (Father) Alberto Gauci is a passionate and unconventional priest who has spent over 40 years in rural Honduras. Football is a passion in the country and Honduras have qualified for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

Driven by his faith and his devotion to St Francis, Padre Gauci has gone to extraordinary lengths to improve the lives of the people he lives amongst in one of the poorest and most violent countries in Latin America. He has come up with an astonishingly ambitious project - a 20,000 seater football stadium - built from nothing in the heart of the jungle.

On his wall is a poster of the Bishop Oscar Romero, the figurehead of the Liberation Theology movement of the 1970s and for Heart and Soul, Will Grant explores with Padre Gauci how his work has been inspired and is consciously carrying on the tradition of Liberation Theology movement.

As the Honduran national team prepare to begin their World Cup campaign in Brazil, Will tells the story of his stadium, the Estadio Juan Ramon Breve Vargas and hears the tale of one man’s belief, sheer stubbornness and unwavering faith in God, St Francis and in the ability of the people around him to shape their own futures.

Will visits the stadium, as well as the prison that Padre Alberto has inspired in the town, and hears about his other projects such as the nutritional centre and the Aids facility. It is a vivid successful, vibrant example of the church filling the areas where government fails to help. At the centre of this is the dynamic Padre Alberto, driven by his love of God, and his love of football.

The Sad Story Of Jim Thorpe2012072820120729 (WS)
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Mark Whitaker tells the story of native American Olympian Jim Thorpe.

Jim Thorpe was an American Indian who was the star of the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, where the Swedish King famously told him, "Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world".

Thorpe had grown up on the Sac and Fox Indian reservation in Oklahoma and then, as a teenager, was sent 1,500 miles away to a boarding school in Pennsylvania, whose purpose was to 'civilise' Indian children by eradicating their culture.

Its motto was 'Kill the Indian and Save the Man'. His remains are still in Pennsylvania where they are disputed by the Catholic Church and the Sac-Fox.

He's often described as the 'first international sporting superstar'. But in 1913 it came out that he had been paid a few dollars to play minor-league baseball, and the elite amateurs who ran in the US athletics rushed to condemn him as a professional. He was stripped of his medals.

He went on to become the first great professional football player, but he could never cope with fame and died in near poverty in 1953. His widow arranged for him to be buried in a small town in Pennsylvania which offered to build a memorial to him. The town even changed its name to 'Jim Thorpe', but his Indian tribe are pursuing a legal battle to have his remains returned to Oklahoma.

Producer: Mark Whitaker

A Square Dog Radio Production for BBC Radio 4.

(Image: Jim Thorpe)

The Spirituality Of Silence20100508

How solitude in a world full of noise can help seekers find God

The Carthusian monks at Parkminster monastery in southern England are allowed to talk just twice a week.

The remainder of their time is spent in prayer and contemplation.

They have chosen a life of silence as a way of helping them communicate with God.

But Christianity isn't the only faith to prize silence.

Sufi mystics, Hindu ascetics and Buddhists all give it a special place.

And you don't have to be religious to want to find solitude in a world full of noise.

The internet is full of adverts for silent retreats.

Peter Stanford explores how people are looking for spiritual insights away from the bustle and chat of everyday life, as he explores the spiritual value of silence.

The Spirituality Of Silence20100509

How solitude in a world full of noise can help seekers find God.

The Story Of Methodism20110529

Historian Robert Colls explores the British origins of this Christian movement

Methodism, founded by the Church of England clergyman John Wesley in 1740's, became one of the most remarkable forces in religious and social life.

By the end of the 19th Century it had 30 million followers worldwide.

Recently the Methodist church has been debating whether it should continue to exist or merge with the Church of England but while Methodism may now be fading in Britain, it retains a global importance.

Robert Colls, Professor of English History at the University of Leicester explores Methodism's belief in personal salvation: an instant change in human behaviour through intense faith.

He revisits his Methodist upbringing in the north-east of England and he listens to the sounds of a movement with a great belief in powerful preaching, personal testimony and song.

Producer: Chris Bowlby.

The Story Of Methodism20110530

Historian Robert Colls explores the British origins of this Christian movement.

The Turbaned Christians Of Kenya2013012620130127 (WS)
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The Akorino are a conservative, Christian sect from Kenya. Wairimu Gitahi finds out more.

Their founders were told by God, you have been given as a sacrifice to deliver Kenya from darkness to the light. Dressed in the white turbans and flowing robes, Akorino Christians have been a familiar sight in Kenya east Africa for decades.

Wairimu Gitahi meets this sect to find out more of their history, but also about their present and future. Modern ideas threaten their traditional values and ideas, which leads them to shun many of the trappings of contemporary life. Wairimu will attend a funeral, a huge event in the community which brings out the traditional elements of the Akorino, but she finds that even this important event has given way to the modern world.

Two elders of the village tell Heart and Soul about their conservative beliefs, such as refusing to shake hands for fear of losing your faith and also refusing hospital treatment so as not to stand in the way of God's will. Another member of the group tells Wairimu of how she had her daughters circumcised despite it being against Kenyan law.She meets singers and DJs who have moved on from their traditional ways, but tells her that they have not forgotten their roots, but are simply giving the traditional Akorino music a modern twist. And by speaking to them, she finds that the outside world is a place many traditional Akorinos fear, even though younger followers show that embracing what it has to offer doesn’t have to mean their faith is lost altogether, it’s just done differently.

The Turbaned Christians Of Kenya2013071320130714 (WS)
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The Akorino and their battle with modern-day Kenya

Their founders were told by God; ‘You have been given as a sacrifice to deliver Kenya from darkness to the light’. Dressed in the white turbans and flowing robes, Akorino Christians have been a familiar sight in Kenya east Africa for decades.

Wairimu Gitahi meets this sect to find out more of their history, but also about their present and future. Modern ideas threaten their traditional values and ideas, which leads them to shun many of the trappings of contemporary life. Wairimu will attend a funeral, a huge event in the community which brings out the traditional elements of the Akorino, but she finds that even this important event has given way to the modern world.

Two elders of the village tell Heart and Soul about their conservative beliefs, such as refusing to shake hands for fear of losing your faith and also refusing hospital treatment so as not to stand in the way of God's will. Another member of the group tells Wairimu of how she had her daughters circumcised despite it being against Kenyan law.She meets singers and DJs who have moved on from their traditional ways, but tells her that they have not forgotten their roots, but are simply giving the traditional Akorino music a modern twist. And by speaking to them, she finds that the outside world is a place many traditional Akorinos fear, even though younger followers show that embracing what it has to offer doesn’t have to mean their faith is lost altogether, it’s just done differently.

Wairimu Gitahi meets the Akorino cult of Kenya to hear how they worship, and how this t...

Wairimu Gitahi meets the Akorino cult of Kenya to hear how they worship, and how this traditional religious group is changing.

The Whoop20101016

If you hear an American pastor almost singing his sermon, that will be The Whoop, a musical, emotional method of preaching the Word of God.

This week Heart and Soul explores this African American tradition, which originated during the early days of North American slavery and continues to evolve today.

One of its practitioners likes to think of it as the ‘gravy’ to make the ‘meat’ of the sermon slip down sweetly.

Presenter Jessica Alpert goes to the deep south of the United States of America, to Atlanta, to hear the sounds of this extraordinary way of communicating the Word, and speaks to those who have become masters of the art.

As they say in the congregation when the sermon takes off - ‘Pull it Reverend!’

Producer: Neil Trevithick

Photograph of the Reverend Charles Adams copyright Harvard University Divinity School.

A journey into the heart of the Whoop, a musical African American style of preaching.

The Whoop20101017

A journey into the heart of the Whoop, a musical African American style of preaching.

The Word On The Street2012080420120805 (WS)
20120806 (WS)

The Reverend Richard Coles tells the story of a remarkable book read by millions.

Fifty years ago, a young naïve pastor from rural Ohio, David Wilkerson, wrote a book about his experiences working with gang members in New York City, the book called The Cross And The Switchblade has been read by an estimated 50 million people and printed in 30 countries. Quite simply it is one of the most influential books for Christians ever written.

In The Word On The Street, the Reverend Richard Coles investigates how the book has become such a phenomenon, helping criminals and drug addicts leave their destructive lives and turn to religion.

He travels to Salford in Northern England to the Victory Outreach Church to meet Pastor Paul Lloyd, he told Richard about how he left his life of drug taking and dealing after reading Wilkerson's book and he hears from the DR Congo where Amethyst Roth, whose father was saved from his addiction by Wilkerson, uses The Cross And The Switchblade in her preaching work now.

David Wilkerson died in a car crash last year but Heart and Soul has spoken to his son, Gary. Now a pastor himself in Colorado Springs. He tells the programme about how his father never envisaged the huge impact his book would have around the world.

The Word On The Street2013011220130113 (WS)
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Reverend Richard Coles looks at the success of the book The Cross and the Switchblade.

The cover proclaims it as ‘the greatest Inspirational true story of all time’, bold claims for a book written by a small town Christian pastor from the mid-west of America. In ‘The Word On The Street’ the Reverend Richard Coles investigates how the book has become such a phenomenon, helping criminals and drug addicts leave their destructive lives and turn to religion and redemption.

He travels to Salford in Northern England to the Victory Outreach Church to meet Pastor Paul Lloyd, he tells Richard about how he left his life of drug taking and dealing after reading Wilkerson's book and he also hears from the DR Congo where Amethyst Roth, whose father was saved from his own addiction to drugs by Wilkerson, uses The Cross And The Switchblade in her preaching work now.

David Wilkerson died in a car crash in 2011 but Heart and Soul has spoken to his son, Gary, now a pastor himself in the state of Colorado. He tells the programme about how his father never envisaged the huge impact his book would have around the world. And The Reverend Coles reflects on his own work in a small rural parish in England compared to the work of Wilkerson’s work in some of the toughest parts of the United States.

Through The Valley Of Death: Religion, Migration And Mexico's Dangerous Road North. Part12013072020130721 (WS)
20130722 (WS)
20130723 (WS)

Human Trafficking in Mexico

It was a massive coup for the Mexican army when they finally caught up with and arrested Miguel Angel Trevino Morales. He was the head of Los Zetas one of the country’s most dangerous, ruthless and powerful cartels, responsible for a big portion of the estimated $30bn trade in the trafficking of human beings.

In the first of 2 parts, Will Grant travels the well-trodden path north through Mexico taken by thousands of immigrants dreaming of life over the border in the USA. As he follows the route he meets the Catholic priest and human rights campaigner Padre Alejandro Solalinde, who runs Hermanos en el Camino (Brothers in the Road), a shelter in the south of the country that provides Central American migrants with humanitarian aid and education.

Padre Solalinde lives under the constant threat that the trafficking gangs will kill him, and has a twenty-four hour a day armed guard. The cartels call the trafficked people ‘mercancia’, or commodities, but Solalinde argues they are not goods but children of God. He is critical of the church and the government, and sees it as his vocation as a Catholic priest to help the people bought and sold through Mexico.

Will Grant meets some of these trafficked people as the 'La Bestia' a huge train which carries them on part of this often deadly journey and he hears their stories of torture, rape and violence as they search for a better life. Often all they have is their faith and he hears how this has helped them through their treacherous journey.

This is the story of how huge swathes of humanity put their faith in God as they set out on the arduous journey they hope will take the to the promised land over the border in America.

To Die With Dignity?2014083020140831 (WS)
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The moral, ethical and spiritual questions surrounding the right to die in Belgium

Nestled in the lowlands of Europe north of France, Belgium is generally a country that doesn’t create many headlines. Earlier this year though, its parliament voted to allow children to decide whether they wanted to end their own lives. Now even a four-year-old can make the choice that their illness is so serious or quality of life so diminished that they can opt for euthanasia. This raises moral, ethical and spiritual questions throughout Belgium and its European neighbours such as France and Great Britain where there are debates about the right to die.

John Laurenson reports from Belgium, a traditionally Catholic country which has seen its church attendance drop significantly, to hear from doctors, terminally ill patients and religious figures at the heart of this argument.

He starts his journey at a day centre in the Belgian capital Brussels where he meets Madelaine who has Alzheimer’s and has decided she wishes to end her own life. She is a Catholic, but the church's teachings say that suicide is a sin. She tells John that the priest at her church has started to ignore her when she attends Mass, summing up the split in this country where five lives a day are ended under its euthanasia laws.

Many religious figures though do support the laws and the right for seriously or terminally ill people to end their lives early. He travels to the town of Hasselt in the Flemish speaking part of this small country to meet Father Marc Desmet who works in the palliative care unit of the local hospital about how his two vocations as a priest and carer shape his ideas on euthanasia.

Tolerating The Intolerant20110213

Should a tolerant society accept religious intolerance?

Reporter Jenny Cuffe investigates claims that one of the groups behind the blasphemy law in Pakistan is also active in the UK.

The religious extremists are accused of spreading a hate message against members of other Islamic sects who they regard as infidels.

One group that's been targeted accuses the authorities of not doing enough to protect them - and says political correctness has resulted in Britain tolerating the intolerant.

Trust And The Church2014062120140622 (WS)
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Can the Catholic Church rebuild trust after the Boston sex abuse crisis?

Pope Francis has reinvigorated the Catholic Church. His most recent apology for the "moral damage carried out by men of the Church" was considered his strongest statement on the worst crisis to hit the Church in centuries. We return to the epicentre of that crisis - the American city of Boston. In a profile of the city, we hear the personal faith journeys of Catholics whose faith was shaken by the deep betrayals that emerged from the sexual abuse crisis. Parish priests provide revelations on how they consoled their parishioners and tried to maintain their congregations. Survivors of abuse share their stories, including the first victim to meet Pope Benedict XVI. Everyday and extraordinary parishioners describe their agonising decisions to leave their spiritual home or stand by the Church.

In an intimate portrait of the shell-shocked city, we ask whether the Church can rebuild the all-important element of trust and bring Catholics back.

(Photo: The Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Copyright: Getty Images)

Can the Catholic Church rebuild trust after the Boston sex abuse crisis? We follow the...

Can the Catholic Church rebuild trust after the Boston sex abuse crisis? We follow the faith journeys of some Boston Catholics.

Uganda: The Side Dish Issue20110430

In the 1990s, Uganda was hailed as one of the rare success stories in Africa in terms of controlling HIV/AIDS.

But since 2006, the number of people infected has been rising again, and almost half of all new infections are now among married couples and those in committed relationships.

Paul Bakibinga goes to Kampala to find out why.

Do too many people enjoy a side dish, as an extramarital relationship is known in Uganda?

Or is it the fault of the Catholic and other Christian churches, who have been accused of promoting abstinence and fidelity alone as a way of curbing HIV, while neglecting the promotion and distribution of condoms?

To find some answers, Paul meets couples affected by HIV/AIDS, and charities trying to help them.

He learns about a campaign that encourages people to "get off the sexual network," and meets firebrand Baptist pastor Martin Ssempa, who says that he is not against condoms, but promiscuity.

And we attend the wedding of William and Teopista, two young HIV peer educators who have managed to abstain from sex until their wedding night.

Photo: Newlyweds William and Teopista believe being faithful as a way of preventing HIV.

Who or what is to blame for the rise of HIV among married couples in Uganda?

Uganda: The Side Dish Issue20110501

Who or what is to blame for the rise of HIV among married couples in Uganda?

Uganda: The Side Dish Issue20110502
Uganda: The Side Dish Issue20120331

Who or what is to blame for the rise of HIV among married couples in Uganda?

In the 1990s, Uganda was hailed as one of the rare success stories in Africa in terms of controlling HIV/AIDS.

But since 2006, the number of people infected has been rising again, and almost half of all new infections are now among married couples and those in committed relationships.

Paul Bakibinga goes to Kampala to find out why.

Do too many people enjoy a side dish, as an extramarital relationship is known in Uganda?

Or is it the fault of the Catholic and other Christian churches, who have been accused of promoting abstinence and fidelity alone as a way of curbing HIV, while neglecting the promotion and distribution of condoms?

To find some answers, Paul meets couples affected by HIV/AIDS, and charities trying to help them.

He learns about a campaign that encourages people to "get off the sexual network," and meets firebrand Baptist pastor Martin Ssempa, who says that he is not against condoms, but promiscuity.

And we attend the wedding of William and Teopista, two young HIV peer educators who have managed to abstain from sex until their wedding night.

Photo: Newlyweds William and Teopista believe being faithful as a way of preventing HIV.

Uganda: The Side Dish Issue20120401

Who or what is to blame for the rise of HIV among married couples in Uganda?

In the 1990s, Uganda was hailed as one of the rare success stories in Africa in terms of controlling HIV/Aids.

But since 2006, the number of people infected has been rising again, and almost half of all new infections are now among married couples and those in committed relationships.

Paul Bakibinga goes to Kampala to find out why.

Do too many people enjoy a side dish, as an extramarital relationship is known in Uganda?

Or is it the fault of the Catholic and other Christian churches, who have been accused of promoting abstinence and fidelity alone as a way of curbing HIV, while neglecting the promotion and distribution of condoms?

To find some answers, Paul meets couples affected by HIV/Aids, and charities trying to help them.

He learns about a campaign that encourages people to "get off the sexual network," and meets firebrand Baptist pastor Martin Ssempa, who says that he is not against condoms, but promiscuity.

And we attend the wedding of William and Teopista, two young HIV peer educators who have managed to abstain from sex until their wedding night.

Photo: Newlyweds William and Teopista believe being faithful as a way of preventing HIV.

Vatican Ii2012100620121007 (WS)
20121008 (WS)

Fifty years ago, the Catholic Church made radical changes. As he opened the biggest gathering of Roman Catholic bishops in history, Pope John the 23rd said it was time to throw open the windows of the church. The Second Vatican Council sent the church hurtling into the 20th Century. After three years of meetings, the Council produced 16 documents – a bold manifesto for modernisation and renewal. It changed the language and style of the mass, permitting Catholics to worship in their own tongue, rather than in Latin. It also called for a new engagement with other faiths, the secular world and with the experiences of Catholics across the globe – men and women, rich and poor.

In this special edition of Heart and Soul, William Crawley considers the legacy of Vatican II. He is joined by Dr Gemma Simmonds – a Sister of the Congregation of Jesus and a lecturer in theology at the University of London; Mario Aguilar – Professor of Religion and Politics at St Andrews University in Scotland and an expert in Latin American and African theology; Christopher Ferrara – President of the American Catholic Lawyers Association and author of The Great Façade: Vatican II and the Regime of Novelty in the Catholic Church; and the Right Reverend Kieran Conry – Bishop of Arundel and Brighton in the south of England.

The programme asks what do the teachings of Vatican II mean for the nearly 1.2 billion Catholics in the world today? Did it go too far – or not far enough? And what role will the Council play in the Church of the future?

William Crawley discusses if the ideals of the Vatican 2 congress are now being betraye...

William Crawley discusses if the ideals of the Vatican 2 congress are now being betrayed, and its liberal ideas being forgotten.

Vivekanand2013042720130428 (WS)
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The 150th anniversary of one of India most famous monks

Hindus across India and the world are celebrating as this year marks the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand who has shaped modern India.

Born in 1863 the Swami Vivekenand was remarkable by many standards, in his short time on the world stage, he accomplished more than most in a lifetime, dying before he was forty. Highly educated he was not always a religious man but came to be, almost against his will when he met the Kali worshipper and ‘mad man’, as he called him, known as Ramakrishna. Despite his own resistance he was drawn to the man who would become his guru.

Much before Gandhi, Vivekanand was outspoken on the need to galvanise the people of India for independence from Britain. He predicted that with the collective might of all it would take fifty years to get the British out, and indeed it seems it took that long! Mahatma Gandhi and the first Prime Minister of India, Nehru would be greatly influenced by his thinking.

There are now 170 Ramkrishna Missions, named after Vivekanand’s guru, countrywide and several others around the world. The monks, both male and female work setting up medical centres, hospitals, schools and even a university, to lift people out of the cruel poverty that plagues India’s rural areas.

Hailed as a ‘man of our times’ today, the most worrying facet of Vivekanand is how he is being co-opted by politicians from both sides, who have adopted his message for their own end and of the need to become ‘Hindu’. Inevitably he means something very different to what Vivekanand meant all those years ago.

Sunita Thakur investigates who the Swami is, and why 150 years after his short life came to an end, he is still so important to Hindus who dress as him and decorate his statue. Plus why his philosophy is so magnetic for politicians as they shape a twenty first century India.

Image shows students passing by Swami Vivekanand's statue in a rally marking the 150th anniversary of his birth. SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images

Wandering Souls - 02 Last20110618

Cathy Fitzgerald hears the war stories of the living - and the dead - in Vietnam, a country crowded with wandering souls.

Cathy Fitzgerald hears the war stories of the living - and the dead - in Vietnam, a cou.

What Is Wahhabism?2014030820140310 (WS)

Is the ultra-conservative Wahhabi branch of Islam the ideology behind Islamic extremism...

Since the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC, the ultra-conservative Wahhabi branch of Islam has often been cited by critics and commentators as the ideology of Islamic extremists around the world today.

But can 21st terrorism really be blamed on the teachings of an 18th Century sect?

In this edition of Heart and Soul Edward Stourton asks what is - and what isn’t - Wahhabism? He explores the foundation of this fundamental form of Islam, the evolution of its interpretation in Saudi Arabia, and asks what power and influence it has across the globe.

Founded by the Arabian scholar Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, this form of Salafi Islam sought to purify the religion by returning it to its original principles.

What is said to be a very literal interpretation of Islam is now an inspiration for modern day Muslim hardliners, who view a binary world of believers and non-believers, strict social rules and adherence to Sharia law – but how close is this to the teachings of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab?

Why Remain A Catholic?20100915

How Catholics negotiate their path in a church shaken by scandals.

The child sex abuse scandals that have swept through the Catholic church, and the cover-ups involving senior clerics, have left many ordinary Catholics feeling shamed and angry.

So much so that some are opting out of the church.

Others argue that this is the time when the church needs to make major changes – pushing subjects long dismissed by Rome, such as priestly celibacy and the ordination of women, back onto the agenda.

In the week of Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK, Edward Stourton talks to both traditional and liberal Catholics about how they negotiate their emotional and spiritual path in a church which is often portrayed as discredited in the media.

He also explores whether the current crisis could be a surprising opportunity for the church – even to the point of leading to a Third Vatican Council.

Why Remain A Catholic?20100916

How Catholics negotiate their path in a church shaken by scandals.

Why Remain A Catholic?20100918

The child sex abuse scandals that have swept through the Catholic church, and the cover-ups involving senior clerics, have left many ordinary Catholics feeling shamed and angry.

So much so that some are opting out of the church.

Others argue that this is the time when the church needs to make major changes – pushing subjects long dismissed by Rome, such as priestly celibacy and the ordination of women, back onto the agenda.

In the week of Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK, Edward Stourton talks to both traditional and liberal Catholics about how they negotiate their emotional and spiritual path in a church which is often portrayed as discredited in the media.

He also explores whether the current crisis could be a surprising opportunity for the church – even to the point of leading to a Third Vatican Council.

How Catholics negotiate their path in a church shaken by scandals.

William Quilliam - Britain’s First Islamist2011012220110123

Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam was made Sheikh of Britain by the last Ottoman Emperor and honoured by Sultans of Morocco, Persia and Afghanistan.

He was also described as an “arch-infidel renegade” and pronounced proof of possession by the devil.

He lectured on temperance, founded debating societies, a printing press and orphanages.

However, Quilliam’s small Mosque in Liverpool was his crowning achievement - Britain's first mosque.

Tim Winter follows in William Quilliam’s footsteps, trying to discover the truths behind the life of one of the most interesting characters of Victorian England.

Quilliam was brought up a Christian but converted to Islam after visiting Morocco in 1887, changing his name to Abdullah.

Returning to Liverpool, he began to work as a solicitor.

But by 1908 he had disappeared from the UK and from the Muslim community he had created in Liverpool, later returning to Britain but under yet another name.

Tim uncovers the curious story of the foundations of British Islamic heritage, drawing parallels with religious acceptance and intolerance across a wider world today.

The story of Abdullah Quilliam - the Englishman who built Britain's first mosque.

Zambia: A Christian Nation?20141115
Zambia: A Christian Nation?2014111520141116 (WS)

Will Christianity remain in Zambia’s constitution?

Zambians had hoped to celebrate their 50th year of independence from Britain with a new constitution. They'd been trying to get one written and passed since the advent of multi-party democracy in 1991 - when the founding president Kenneth Kaunda was finally voted out of office after twenty seven years in power. With the recent death of their president Michael Sata, the likelihood of a new constitution being adopted has dimmed once again.

The man who replaced Kaunda amended the existing constitution in 1996 to include a preamble that declared Zambia a Christian nation, one of the few countries in world to do so. Many felt it was a way of re-orienting the country toward the founding principles established by the Christian missionary explorer David Livingstone, which carved Zambia up into various religious denominations by the end of the nineteenth century.

But many Zambians were surprised by it - and many more opposed it. Human rights activists felt it would restrict the rights of people with different sexual orientations. But the strongest opposition came from the very churches which form the bedrock of the faith of the people. Among them - the powerful Catholic Church. Audrey Brown went to Zambia to find out why this was so - and whether the preamble will survive in the latest draft of the constitution before parliament.

(Photo: Funeral of Michael Sata, the Zambian President. Credit: BBC News)

01Absolving The Past20110209

Should a tolerant society accept religious intolerance? Jenny Cuffe investigates.

01Absolving The Past20120421

Imam Khalid Latif considers what happens when world religions change their minds, and h.

Imam Khalid Latif considers what happens when world religions change their minds, and how they revise, update and apologise.

01Absolving The Past20120422

Imam Khalid Latif considers what happens when world religions change their minds, and h.

01Absolving The Past20120423

Imam Khalid Latif considers what happens when world religions change their minds, and h.

01Bosnia's War Babies20091028

The story of teenagers, born as a result of war rape in Bosnia.

One of the many charges faced by Radovan Karadžić at The Hague is that of organising the rape of 20,000 Bosnian Muslim women.

Fourteen years after the conflict, many of these women remain traumatised, cast out from their communities, rejected by their husbands and families, and often ending up stigmatised and impoverished.

Some had the additional humiliation of being raped in front of their parents or small children.

Yet the psychological support that so many of them urgently need is inadequate and sporadic.

Some women were kept for months and raped until they conceived.

Those who became pregnant either abandoned their babies or had them adopted.

Some decided to keep them, a constant reminder of their shame.

These children – now in their teens – are beginning to ask questions about their fathers.

The mothers now face a dilemma – should they tell the truth and risk damaging their child? Or keep their terrible secret?

01Bosnia's War Babies20091029

The story of teenagers, born as a result of war rape in Bosnia.

01Bosnia's War Babies20091031
01Bosnia's War Babies20091101
01Bosnia's War Babies2010072120100722

The story of teenagers 'born from hate', as a result of war rape in Bosnia, who are now.

The story of teenagers 'born from hate', as a result of war rape in Bosnia, who are now experiencing mental trauma.

01Bosnia's War Babies2010072420100725

One of the many charges faced by Radovan Karadžić at The Hague is that of organising the rape of 20,000 Bosnian Muslim women.

Fifteen years after the conflict, many of these women remain traumatised, cast out from their communities, rejected by their husbands and families, and often ending up stigmatised and impoverished.

Some had the additional humiliation of being raped in front of their parents or small children.

Yet the psychological support that so many of them urgently need is inadequate and sporadic.

Some women were kept for months and raped until they conceived.

Many of those who became pregnant either abandoned their babies or had them adopted.

Some decided to keep them, a constant reminder of their shame.

These children – now in their teens – are beginning to ask questions about their fathers.

The mothers now face a dilemma – should they tell the truth and risk damaging their child? Or keep their terrible secret?

The teenagers born as a result of war rape in Bosnia - and their mothers.

01Celibacy20100529

“I wish that all were as I myself am”

The apostle Paul advocating what he believed to be the most holy state – celibate and devoted to God.

But when did celibacy become mandatory for the priesthood in the Catholic Church, and why is there a growing movement to have that rule over-turned.

Heart and Soul examines the unmarried life of the priest in a two part series.

The priestly vow to remain continent and chaste is not set down as a rule in the Bible, and the earliest Christian leaders were largely married men.

Heart and Soul explores how the Church came to outlaw sexual relations for its priests.

And we talk candidly to priests who have sacrificed married life for the “sake of the Kingdom”.

When did celibacy become mandatory for the priests in the Catholic Church?

01Celibacy20100530

When did celibacy become mandatory for the priests in the Catholic Church?

01Celibacy, Celibacy20100526

When did celibacy become mandatory for the priests in the Catholic Church?

“I wish that all were as I myself am”

The apostle Paul advocating what he believed to be the most holy state – celibate and devoted to God.

But when did celibacy become mandatory for the priesthood in the Catholic Church, and why is there a growing movement to have that rule over-turned.

Heart and Soul examines the unmarried life of the priest in a two part series.

The priestly vow to remain continent and chaste is not set down as a rule in the Bible, and the earliest Christian leaders were largely married men.

Heart and Soul explores how the Church came to outlaw sexual relations for its priests.

And we talk candidly to priests who have sacrificed married life for the “sake of the Kingdom”.

01Celibacy, Celibacy20100527
01Choosing Life20120407

Mark Dowd meets Alison Davis, who has overcome her wish to die and found meaning in lif.

Mark Dowd meets Alison Davis, who has overcome her wish to die and found meaning in life despite disability and constant pain.

01Choosing Life20120408

Mark Dowd meets Alison Davis, who has overcome her wish to die and found meaning in lif.

01Choosing Life20120409

Mark Dowd meets Alison Davis, who has overcome her wish to die and found meaning in life despite disability and constant pain.

Mark Dowd meets Alison Davis, who has overcome her wish to die and found meaning in lif.

01Christianity In China20100825

The astonishing rise of state-sanctioned churches under Communist rule.

In the first of a two-part series, Christopher Landau examines an extraordinary phenomenon - the rise and rise of officially sanctioned Christianity in Communist China.

He visits state-regulated Christian institutions such as the world’s largest Bible printing press in Nanjing, which prints no fewer than 1 million Bibles every month.

We also gain access to training facilities for pastors built with government money, and visit the building site of a new ‘Chinese megachurch’ that will seat 5,000 worshippers.

The Communist rulers in Beijing keep a close eye on these burgeoning activities.

But why have they decided that it is in their interest to co-operate with Christians?

While China's repression of underground churches is well known, this programme provides rare insights into the enormous growth of government-sanctioned Christianity.

Students at the National Catholic Seminary, Beijing.

01Christianity In China20100826

The astonishing rise of state-sanctioned churches under Communist rule.

01Christianity In China20100828
01Christianity In China20100829
01Christianity In China20110507

Christopher Landau tells the unknown story of the rapid growth of state-sanctioned Christianity in China, and its impact.

Christopher Landau tells the unknown story of the rapid growth of state-sanctioned Chri.

01Christianity In China20110508

Christopher Landau tells the unknown story of the rapid growth of state-sanctioned Chri.

01Christianity In China20110509
01Crime And Punishment20090801

GUILT, REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS

The story of Colm O'Gorman, who as a teenage boy was sexually abused by a Catholic priest.

Join Michael Ford for his series examining issues around guilt, repentance, and forgiveness.

In this programme, he meets a man who suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest in Ireland.

At the age of 17, Colm O'Gorman ran away to Dublin to escape his abuser.

He ended up homeless in the streets, and prostituted himself for a bed and a hot meal.

Now in his 40s, Colm is Executive Director of Amnesty International in Ireland and has founded a charity for victims of child sex abuse.

But how does he feel about his abuser now? Can he forgive him?

Or is compassion for an abuser even appropriate in such circumstances?

A four-part series examining the issues around guilt, repentance and forgiveness.

Do child sex offenders face up to their guilt and, if so, how? What constitutes meaningful repentance for such crimes?

Do child sex offenders face up to their guilt and, if so, how? What constitutes meaning.

01Crime And Punishment20090802

A four-part series examining the issues around guilt, repentance and forgiveness.

Do child sex offenders face up to their guilt and, if so, how? What constitutes meaning.

01Fame, Blame And Shame2010062320100624

Michael Ford explores the spiritual dimensions of Fame, Blame and Shame through vivid s.

Michael Ford explores the spiritual dimensions of Fame, Blame and Shame through vivid stories from different cultures & faiths.

01Fame, Blame And Shame2010062620100627

Mandy Smith began a relationship with Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones at the age of just 13.

Born into an Irish Catholic family in North London, Mandy was educated at a convent school and, as a child, had a deep love of God.

But she was caught up in the excitement of a celebrity lifestyle when she began dating Bill and forging her own career as a singer and model.

Their wedding in 1989 brought the paparazzi out in force – she was just 18 and he was 52.

But within weeks they had separated, and were divorced two years later.

Now 39, and another short-lived marriage later, Mandy talks to Michael Ford about the emotional fallout of having entered into a sexual relationship at such a young age.

She reflects on what it was like to become a tabloid commodity, the years of ill-health that followed her failed marriage to Bill - and how she returned to the faith of her childhood.

We also hear from Max Clifford, PR specialist to the famous, on why the media often builds celebrities up only to knock them down.

Mandy Smith, former wife of Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, in conversation with Michael Ford

01Fame, Blame And Shame2012010720120108

Michael Ford explores the spiritual dimensions of fame, blame, and shame with Jide Maca.

Michael Ford explores the spiritual dimensions of fame, blame, and shame with Jide Macauley and Mandy Smith.

01Fame, Blame And Shame20120109

Mandy Smith began a relationship with Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones at the age of just 13.

Born into an Irish Catholic family in North London, Mandy was educated at a convent school and, as a child, had a deep love of God.

But she was caught up in the excitement of a celebrity lifestyle when she began dating Bill and forging her own career as a singer and model.

Their wedding in 1989 brought the paparazzi out in force – she was just 18, he was 52.

But within weeks they had separated, and were divorced two years later.

Nearly 30 years after it all began, Mandy talks to Michael Ford about the emotional fallout of having entered into a sexual relationship at such a young age.

She reflects on what it was like to become a tabloid commodity, the years of ill health that followed her failed marriage to Bill - and how she returned to the faith of her childhood.

We also hear from Max Clifford, PR specialist to the famous, on why the media often builds celebrities up only to knock them down.

Mandy Smith, ex-wife of Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, in conversation with Michael Ford

01Ganga Ma - Voices Of The River20100407

A journey down the Ganges collecting sounds and stories from among the 400 million peop.

A journey down the Ganges collecting sounds and stories from among the 400 million people who live and work on it.

01Ganga Ma - Voices Of The River20100408

A journey down the Ganges collecting sounds and stories from among the 400 million peop.

01Ganga Ma - Voices Of The River20100410
01Ganga Ma - Voices Of The River20100411
01God In China20111001

Tim Gardam explores how the Communist Party is reconnecting with Chinas Taoist heritage and promoting it through tourism.

Tim Gardam explores how the Communist Party is reconnecting with Chinas Taoist heritage.

01God In China20111002

Tim Gardam explores how the Communist Party is reconnecting with Chinas Taoist heritage.

01God In China20111003
01Haiti One Year On20110105

One year after the Haiti earthquake, Edward Stourton visits Haiti to see how religion h.

One year after the Haiti earthquake, Edward Stourton visits Haiti to see how religion has helped and hindered.

01Haiti One Year On20110106

One year after the Haiti earthquake, Edward Stourton visits Haiti to see how religion h.

01Haiti One Year On20110108

One year after Haiti's devastating earthquake, Edward Stourton visits the country to discover how the power of religion in Haitian society has coloured its responses to the traumas of the past year.

He finds a complex situation.

The capital Port-au-Prince is awash with international aid agencies.

Many are well known, but some of them are evangelical agencies from the United States as much concerned for Haitians' souls as for their bodies – in a country until now dominated by the Catholic church and the Voodoo religion.

Inevitably, tensions arise.

Meanwhile, the government seems powerless, and one year after the earthquake a million people still live under canvas.

How has the power of religion coloured Haiti's responses to the earthquake?

01Haiti One Year On20110109

How has the power of religion coloured Haiti's responses to the earthquake?

01Hospice Chronicles20100217

What does it take to be a hospice volunteer, working with the elderly and terminally ill?

It's been over forty years since the first modern hospice, St.

Christopher's, opened in a suburb of London.

Since then, the model has been followed and millions of people around the world have chosen a hospice at the end of their lives, with many patients choosing to receive hospice care in their homes.

Over the course of eight months, producers Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister followed two hospice volunteers through their training and first assignments in patients' homes in Michigan in the United States.

Trained to provide 'respite care,' the volunteers set out to give family members a break from their caretaking responsibilities.

While Betty has a chance to visit Maimie, who is in her 90s and has lost the will to live, Joe sits with Preston while his exhausted wife has some time off from looking after her husband.

Produced by Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister of Long Haul Productions, Michigan, USA.

Many people chose to end their lives in a hospice.

We follow 2 hospice volunteers throu.

We follow 2 hospice volunteers through their training and first assignments.

01Hospice Chronicles20100218

What does it take to be a hospice volunteer, working with the elderly and terminally ill?

Many people chose to end their lives in a hospice.

We follow 2 hospice volunteers throu.

01Hospice Chronicles20100220

What does it take to be a hospice volunteer, working with the elderly and terminally ill?

It's been over forty years since the first modern hospice, St.

Christopher's, opened in a suburb of London.

Since then, the model has been followed and millions of people around the world have chosen a hospice at the end of their lives, with many patients choosing to receive hospice care in their homes.

Over the course of eight months, producers Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister followed two hospice volunteers through their training and first assignments in patients' homes in Michigan in the United States.

Trained to provide 'respite care,' the volunteers set out to give family members a break from their caretaking responsibilities.

While Betty has a chance to visit Maimie, who is in her 90s and has lost the will to live, Joe sits with Preston while his exhausted wife has some time off from looking after her husband.

Produced by Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister of Long Haul Productions, Michigan, USA.

01Hospice Chronicles20100221

What does it take to be a hospice volunteer, working with the elderly and terminally ill?

01I Will Rise Again In My People, Voice Of The Voiceless 120100317

The legacy of Oscar Romero, El Salvador's advocate of the poor, shot dead 30 years ago.

30 years ago, El Salvador's Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot dead while celebrating mass.

He knew he was in danger - not long before his death, he said that if he was killed, he would rise again in his people.

Today, his face is everywhere in the country - on murals, T shirts, and key rings.

Many compare him to Martin Luther King, Gandhi, or even Che Guevara.

But how was it that this man of the church became such an outspoken advocate of the poor and oppressed?

And why did he become such a threat to the rich oligarchy that someone wanted him dead?

Join Julián Miglierini as he speaks to those who remember Romero, and travels to a village in El Salvador's poor north where he is revered as a saint.

Picture above: Archbishop Romero's face is everywhere in El Salvador.

The writing on the right reads, I will rise again in the people.".

01I Will Rise Again In My People, Voice Of The Voiceless 120100318

The legacy of Oscar Romero, El Salvador's advocate of the poor, shot dead 30 years ago.

01Japan: Hope Amid The Chaos20120303

Japan's rebuilding - spiritual as well as physical - one year after the tsunami.

01Japan: Hope Amid The Chaos20120304
01Japan: Hope Amid The Chaos20120305
01Japan: Hope Amid The Chaos20120310

Gerry Northam reports on Japan's rebuilding - spiritual as well as physical - one year.

Gerry Northam reports on Japan's rebuilding - spiritual as well as physical - one year after the earthquake and tsunami.

01Japan: Hope Amid The Chaos20120311

Gerry Northam reports on Japan's rebuilding - spiritual as well as physical - one year.

01Japan: Hope Amid The Chaos20120312

One year after Japan's litany of disasters – an earthquake registering 8.9, a tsunami with 10-foot high waves swamping up to five kilometres inland, a nuclear accident leading to radiation leaks and mass evacuations, and 20,000 people dead or missing - Gerry Northam tours the devastated northern Pacific areas.

He reports on the survivors trying to come to terms with the loss of everything, their growing acceptance that Japanese society was losing its way and that nature - to which they give very special status - had intervened to put it back on a more spiritual path, and their tentative hope that a revived interest in things both spiritual and community-based might prove to be the lasting legacy.

He hears of the Japanese people's ongoing and over-riding sense of loss in the wake of ancestral graves and tombs being destroyed, with many survivors forced unwillingly to move away from their ancestral homes.

And he encounters yet another grievous sense of loss. Mass graves have meant the impossibility of carrying out Buddhist or Shinto rituals and 'a spirit of an ancestor who's not properly memorialised can cause problems for the living because the spirit is unhappy and not looked after properly'.

Gerry Northam also reflects on the mounting and co-ordinated sense of outrage against nuclear power which people now want abandoned, one spokesman calling it 'the same as using the devil'.

Vociferous demands for renewable energy are reaching the government, which is being criticised at the same time for being too unprepared for the disasters, and for doing too little in their aftermath.

Japan's rebuilding - spiritual as well as physical - one year after the tsunami.

Gerry Northam reports on Japan's rebuilding - spiritual as well as physical - one year.

01Living Along Africa's Faultlines20120317

What is it like to live where Africa’s Muslim North meets the Christian South?

Along the middle of Africa, from Senegal in the West to Somalia in the East, runs a swath of land separating the continent’s 400 million Muslims from its 500 million Christians.

To some observers, this is a volatile religious faultline – the site, for example, of a conflict in Northern Nigeria which is often described as setting Muslims against Christians.

Others see this line as a source of hope - a place where members of the two faiths can work together for peace and prosperity.

But one thing is certain: the vast majority of sub-Saharan Africans, whether Muslim or Christian, define themselves as deeply religious.

So what is it like to live along Africa's faultline?

In this first of two programmes, Solomon Mugera, the BBC’s Africa Editor, welcomes guests and hears reports from Nigeria and Ivory Coast to find some answers.

Photo: Christian and Muslim leaders in Kano in Northern Nigeria. Credit: Yusuf Ibrahim.

01Living Along Africa's Faultlines20120318

What is it like to live where Africa’s Muslim North meets the Christian South?

01Living Along Africa's Faultlines20120319
01Love Over The Wall20091202

Louise Williams' tales of romance for Israeli/Palestinian couples divided by language,.

Louise Williams' tales of romance for Israeli/Palestinian couples divided by language, faith, culture and physical barriers.

01Love Over The Wall20091203

Louise Williams' tales of romance for Israeli/Palestinian couples divided by language,.

01Love Over The Wall20091205
01Love Over The Wall20091206
01Return To Zanzibar20090718

YASMIN ALIBHAI-BROWN returns to Zanzibar on a personal journey, to the idyllic island she visited as a child.

It was here during holidays with her mother in the 1950s and 1960s that she first found the remnants of caves, used to hold thousands of slaves.

At one time Zanzibar, owned by the Sultan of Oman, was at the centre of the slave trade across East Africa.

In the first of two programmes for Heart and Soul, Yasmin returns to Zanzibar to find out about the legacy of slavery, and what role her Islamic faith had in the slave trade.

Writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown returns to Zanzibar, the idyllic island she visited as a child.

01Return To Zanzibar20090719

Writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown returns to Zanzibar, the idyllic island she visited as a child

The writer Yasmin Alibhai Brown returns to Zanzibar, where she questions the role her f.

01Spiritual Journeys, Anne Rice20100130

A spiritual journey with the best-selling American novelist Anne Rice.

The best-selling American author Anne Rice became famous and wealthy after publishing her novel Interview with the Vampire in 1976.

It led her to over 25 years of variations on the vampire theme.

Then a passionate re-conversion to her Catholic faith in her 50s changed everything - out went the vampires and in came fictionalised biographies of Christ and her most recent novel, Angel Time, featuring a guardian angel who comes to save the soul of a hitman.

But Anne Rice sees a thread through her work rather than a radical departure - the vampires who agonise about the source of their own evil are tormented souls cut off from the love of God and the possibility of redemption, as she was when she wrote about them.

At home in Palm Springs, California, Anne Rice talks to Bidisha about how her beliefs have shaped her fiction.

01Spiritual Journeys, Anne Rice20100131

A spiritual journey with the best-selling American novelist Anne Rice.

01Spiritual Journeys, Spiritual Journeys 1: Anne Rice20100127
01Spiritual Journeys, Spiritual Journeys 1: Anne Rice20100128
01That's Ganga Ma: Voices Of The River -20110801

Worshipped as a goddess by Hindus and revered by the millions of people that benefit day to day from its waters, the Ganges plays a central role in religion and faith across India. In Heart and Soul we explore the spiritual life of its waters and shores.

The Kumbh Mela in Haridwar is a huge religious festival that takes place there only once every 12 years and it commemorates a holy event in Hindu mythology - the churning of the ocean to produce the nectar of immortality.

This programme, recorded during last year's celebrations as millions come to bathe in the river, explores how the need for the water to flow for cultural and religious purposes is being challenged by the country's thirst for electrical power.

That's Ganga Ma: Voices of the River produced and presented by Katie Burningham.

A spiritual journey along the River Ganges collecting sounds and stories

Worshipped as a goddess by Hindus and revered by the millions of people that benefit day to day from its waters, the Ganges plays a central role in religion and faith across India.

In Heart and Soul we explore the spiritual life of its waters and shores.

01The Bosphorous20110625

Edward Stourton journeys down one of the most evocative stretches of water in the world, the meeting point of Europe and Asia.

Edward Stourton journeys down one of the most evocative stretches of water in the world.

01The Bosphorus20110626

The waterway at the heart of Istanbul where cultures and religions meet

Flowing through the heart of Istanbul in Turkey, the Bosphorus has been a flash point between cultures, religions and imperial powers for thousands of years; from the Roman and Byzantine Empires, to the clash between Islam and Christianity and the Cold War between the super powers of the East and West.

The Bosphorus has a rich and bloody history that has inspired poets, writers and artists from around the world.

Edward Stourton looks at that rich history and how the Bosphorus works today.

Fifty thousand vessels make their way through the narrow straits every year - everything from small fishing boats to giant oil and gas tankers battles through the treacherous currents, making it one of the busiest and most dangerous international waterways in the world.

01The Bosphorus20110627

Flowing through the heart of Istanbul in Turkey, the Bosphorus has been a flash point between cultures, religions and imperial powers for thousands of years; from the Roman and Byzantine Empires, to the clash between Islam and Christianity and the Cold War between the super powers of the East and West.

The Bosphorus has a rich and bloody history that has inspired poets, writers and artists from around the world.

Edward Stourton looks at that rich history and how the Bosphorus works today.

Fifty thousand vessels make their way through the narrow straits every year - everything from small fishing boats to giant oil and gas tankers battles through the treacherous currents, making it one of the busiest and most dangerous international waterways in the world.

The waterway at the heart of Istanbul where cultures and religions meet.

01The Holocaust Deniers20101201

Wendy Robbins takes a personal journey, examining fears that history is being rewritten.

Wendy Robbins takes a personal journey, examining fears that history is being rewritten, threatening the Jewish community.

01The Holocaust Deniers20101202

Wendy Robbins takes a personal journey, examining fears that history is being rewritten.

01The Holocaust Deniers20101208

Is the Jewish community threatened by rising anti-semitism and a rewriting of history?

In this two-part documentary for Heart and Soul, Wendy Robbins takes a personal journey into the heart of Europe.

There is a growing fear that Jewish history is being rewritten so as to minimise the past and threaten the future.

During that journey, she faces up to the charge that Israeli policies in the Middle East are muddying the moral waters.

And another charge that some Jews have created, 'a holocaust industry'.

The European Jewish community is "the canary in the cage," says one British MP.

"The racists will never stop abusing Jews.

Then they'll move on to some other minority.

History repeats itself – first the Jews, then the others."

Holocaust denial is provably on the increase, and no longer confined to extremists.

But, in countries where evidence of the holocaust is hard to deny, there is a subtle change too,

'Holocaust obfuscation', which started among Baltic ultra-nationalists, is when the atrocities of the Nazis are combined with those of the Soviet Union - resulting in Eastern European history re-written as an equal Nazi-Soviet 'double genocide'.

Bizarrely, this means some Jews who joined up with anti-Nazi (often Communist) partisans now find themselves under investigation for war crimes.

The Prague Declaration of 2008 calls for the EU to recognise communism and fascism as 'a common legacy', and for the replacement of Holocaust Memorial Day with a Red-Brown Memorial Day, for the victims of both Nazi and Soviet crimes.

Wendy, as part of her investigation, visits Sweden and Lithuania, where denial and obfuscation vie for supremacy.

In World War II, 95% of Lithuania's Jews were wiped out.

With that kind of irrefutable evidence, Lithuania could not deny the holocaust outright – although its main museum shows only the results of Soviet occupation, not of Nazi crimes.

And in Sweden's capital, Malmo, many of the 50,000 Muslims want the 1,000 Jews to leave - and the Mayor wants Zionism condemned as forcefully as anti-semitism.

01The Holocaust Deniers20101209

Is the Jewish community threatened by rising anti-semitism and a rewriting of history?

01The Holocaust Deniers20101211

Holocaust denial, it was thought, was put to rest with the humiliation in court of David Irving.

However, denial is rampant in the Middle East, and across Europe there is a political manipulation of the Holocaust, its trivialisation or obfuscation, and its labelling as just one genocide among many.

In this episode, Wendy Robbins visits Lithuania where 95% of its Jews didn't end up in concentration camps, but instead were herded – often by their neighbours - into specially-dug pits, and shot.

Yet the popular Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius doesn't even mention it.

As the Baltic states look for an identity in the wake of independence from the communists, the Holocaust is being politically manipulated.

The public wearing of swastikas is legal and the few remaining Holocaust survivors are being hounded as "war criminals."

Is the Jewish community threatened by rising anti-semitism and a rewriting of history?

01The Holocaust Deniers20101212
01The Right Thing20111112

Miriam O'Reilly presents a series exploring personal stories of integrity, courage, and.

Miriam O'Reilly presents a series exploring personal stories of integrity, courage, and the cost of doing the right thing.

01The Right Thing20111113

Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee from Liberia talks to Miriam O'Reilly.

Miriam O'Reilly begins a new series exploring personal stories of integrity, courage, and the cost of doing the right thing.

Her first guest is Leymah Gbowee from Liberia who has recently been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Leymah mobilised women from across Liberia's ethnic and religious divides to call for an end to Liberia's brutal 14-year civil war.

Amid the shells and bullets, the women prayed and protested for days on end, demanding that the conflict between former President Charles Taylor and rebel forces stop.

This women's movement eventually brought an end to the conflict which had left over 250,000 people dead.

Leymah says we were "unafraid because the worst things imaginable had already happened to us".

Photo shows Leymah Gbowee (Credit: AFP/GETTY/ISSOUF SANOGO).

01The Right Thing20111114

Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee from Liberia talks to Miriam O'Reilly.

01Voice Of The Voiceless20100320

Thirty years ago, El Salvador's Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot dead while celebrating mass.

He knew he was in danger - not long before his death, he said that if he was killed - he would rise again in his people.

Today, his face is everywhere in the country - on murals, T-shirts and key rings.

Many compare him to Martin Luther King, Gandhi or even Che Guevara.

But how was it that this man of the church became such an outspoken advocate of the poor and oppressed? And why did he become such a threat to the rich oligarchy that someone wanted him dead?

Join Julian Miglierini as he speaks to those who remember Romero, and travels to a village in El Salvador's poor north, where he is revered as a saint.

Illustration above: Archbishop Romero's face is everywhere in El Salvador.

The writing on the right reads, I will rise again in the people."

The legacy of Oscar Romero, El Salvador's advocate of the poor, shot dead 30 years ago.".

01Voice Of The Voiceless20100321
01Wandering Souls20110611
01Wandering Souls20110612

Cathy Fitzgerald hears the war stories of the living - and the dead - in Vietnam, a cou.

01Wandering Souls20110613
02Crime And Punishment20090808

Rev.

Julie Nicholson resigned her post when she found herself unable to forgive the perpetrators of the 7th July London attacks.

Julie Nicholson resigned her post when she found herself unable to forgive the per.

02Crime And Punishment20090809

Rev.

Julie Nicholson resigned her post when she found herself unable to forgive the per.

02Fame, Blame And Shame20100630

The story of a shame that led to murder

Naziz Bains married into a devout Sikh family and was expecting to lead an uneventful life as a wife and mother.

But her world was turned upside down when her sister-in-law fell victim to an honour killing - committed by her own family, who felt shamed by the young woman's behaviour.

For Naziz, this posed a terrible dilemma.

Should she toe the family line, or tell the police what she knew?

The choice she made destroyed her marriage and standing in the community, and meant that she had to live in fear of being killed in revenge for years.

In conversation with Michael Ford, Naziz tells her story for the first time.

02Fame, Blame And Shame20100701

The story of a shame that led to murder.

02Fame, Blame And Shame20100703

Naziz Bains - not her real name - married into a devout Sikh family and was expecting to lead an uneventful life as a wife and mother.

But her world was turned upside down when her sister-in-law fell victim to an honour killing - committed by her own family, who felt shamed by the young woman's behaviour.

For Naziz, this posed a terrible dilemma.

Should she toe the family line, or tell the police what she knew?

The choice she made destroyed her marriage and standing in the community, and meant that she had to live in fear of being killed in revenge for years.

In conversation with Michael Ford, Naziz tells her story for the first time.

Photograph: The Sikh scriptures contain nothing that condones honour killings.

The story of a shame that led to murder.

02Fame, Blame And Shame20100704
02Fame, Blame And Shame20120114
02Fame, Blame And Shame20120115

Michael Ford explores the spiritual dimensions of fame, blame, and shame with Jide Maca.

02Fame, Blame And Shame20120116

Naziz Bains married into a devout Sikh family and was expecting to lead an uneventful life as a wife and mother.

But her world was turned upside down when her sister-in-law fell victim to an honour killing - committed by her own family - who felt shamed by the young woman's behaviour.

For Naziz, this posed a terrible dilemma.

Should she toe the family line, or tell the police what she knew?

The choice she made destroyed her marriage and standing in the community, and meant that she had to live in fear of being killed in revenge for years.

In conversation with Michael Ford, Naziz tells her story.

Photo: The Sikh scriptures contain nothing that condones honour killings.

The story of a shame so deep that it led to murder.

Michael Ford explores the spiritual dimensions of fame, blame, and shame with Jide Maca.

02God In China20111008

Buddhism and Islam are two of China's five official religions.

They are both very integrated into Chinese society, but for different reasons.

In this programme, Tim Gardam considers the role these two religions play in the Communist Party's appropriation of religion to support the drive towards President Hu Jintao's "harmonious society".

He meets female imams and visits Longchen Monastery, whose Abbot's tweets are translated daily into eight different languages.

Female Imams and a tweeting abbot - Islam and Buddhism Chinese style.

02God In China20111009

Female Imams and a tweeting abbot - Islam and Buddhism Chinese style.

02God In China20111010
02Guilt, Repentance And Forgiveness, 08/08/200920090808

Is there such a thing as the unpardonable sin?

If there is, people in many societies would be clear what it is: child sex abuse.

It's a crime that triggers more rage and horror than almost any other.

Yet for Christians, there's a strong call to forgiveness, whatever the nature of the sin.

So where does that leave a Christian family where a father has abused his own daughter?

Join Michael Ford as he hears the story of how one family resolved a near-impossible dilemma.

Child sex abuse - the unforgivable sin? Hear one family's story.

02Guilt, Repentance And Forgiveness, 08/08/200920090809

Child sex abuse - the unforgivable sin? Hear one family's story.

02Spiritual Journeys20100203

God on the line – a Spiritual Journey with best-selling Indian novelist Chetan Bhagat.

Chetan Bhagat is the author of four blockbuster novels which continue to top bestseller lists in India - at only 35 years old he is one of the biggest-selling English language novelists in India's history.

He writes page-turning witty tales about the life of 20-somethings in modern India, in conflict with their parents' values, and living with a sense of isolation and fear of failure.

His first two novels Five Point Someone and One Night at the Call Centre have already become Bollywood films.

Last year Chetan Bhagat was able to give up international banking to become a writer full-time, but it wasn't easy for him to leave behind the bank's pay-cheque and Mercedes.

While he counsels against pure materialism, he does it through buddy novels and romantic comedies, not wanting to be preachy because he knows how ineffective that is.

Brought up as a Hindu, Bhagat lists 'Spirituality' as one of his primary interests.

In his fiction God may come on the phone to help sort out everyone's troubles, but religion is also shown in Chetan Bhagat's work to be divisive and violent when manipulated.

02Spiritual Journeys20100204

God on the line – a Spiritual Journey with best-selling Indian novelist Chetan Bhagat.

02Spiritual Journeys20100206

Chetan Bhagat is the author of four blockbuster novels which continue to top bestseller lists in India - at only 35 years old he is one of the biggest-selling English language novelists in India's history.

He writes page-turning witty tales about the life of 20-somethings in modern India, in conflict with their parents' values, and living with a sense of isolation and fear of failure.

His first two novels Five Point Someone and One Night at the Call Centre have already become Bollywood films.

Last year Chetan Bhagat was able to give up international banking to become a writer full-time, but it wasn't easy for him to leave behind the bank's pay-cheque and Mercedes.

While he counsels against pure materialism, he does it through buddy novels and romantic comedies, not wanting to be preachy because he knows how ineffective that is.

Brought up as a Hindu, Bhagat lists 'Spirituality' as one of his primary interests.

In his fiction God may come on the phone to help sort out everyone's troubles, but religion is also shown in Chetan Bhagat's work to be divisive and violent when manipulated.

God on the line – a Spiritual Journey with best-selling Indian novelist Chetan Bhagat.

02Spiritual Journeys20100207
02That's Ganga Ma: Voices Of The River -20110808

This week in Heart and Soul Katie Burningham continues her exploration of the spiritual life of the river Ganges.

Worshipped as a goddess by Hindus and revered by the millions of people that benefit day to day from its waters, the river plays a central role in religion and faith across India.

Today's programme visits the sacred city of Banaras, or Varanasi.

It's a place where families go to scatter the ashes of their loved ones, where boatmen fish and transport tourists and where locals wash their clothes everyday.

It's also one of the most polluted stretches of water along the Ganges.

An exploration of India's sacred river the Ganges.

This week at the city of Varanasi.

02The Bosphorus20110702
02The Bosphorus20110703

Edward Stourton journeys down one of the most evocative stretches of water in the world.

02The Bosphorus20110704

For thousands of years travellers have made their way to Istanbul, drawn by tales of its cosmopolitan and exotic delights.

The city's unique culture has grown out of its place at the heart of three empires - the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman - and the strategic importance of the Bosphorus that flows through it.

Despite waves of conquest, Istanbul has always managed to retain a diverse religious mix.

Until relatively recently that is, as Edward Stourton discovers on the latest of his journeys along The Bosphorus.

Edward Stourton continues his exploration of one of the world's big religious melting pots

Edward Stourton journeys down one of the most evocative stretches of water in the world.

02The Right Thing20111119

Zimbabwean human rights campaigner Farai Maguwu talks to Miriam O’Reilly.

Miriam O’Reilly continues her series of conversations with people whose stories speak of integrity, courage, and the cost of doing the right thing.

Farai Maguwu is an outspoken critic of human rights abuses in the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe.

After he exposed evidence of a massacre of civilians in 2008 alleged to have been carried out by soldiers and paramilitary police, his home was raided and family members beaten and taken hostage.

In response, Farai Maguwu gave himself up to police and was detained for over a month, facing a possible 20-year jail term.

A man with a strong Christian faith, Farai believes that he has a calling to inspire others, and took great comfort from his faith during his time in prison.

He believes Jesus was a great human rights champion, and is an admirer of Martin Luther King’s blend of religion, politics, and human rights.

Photo credit: Science Photo Library.

02The Right Thing20111120

Zimbabwean human rights campaigner Farai Maguwu talks to Miriam O’Reilly.

02The Right Thing20111121
02 LASTAbsolving The Past20120428

Imam Khalid Latif considers what happens when world religions change their minds.

Religion is in a special bind. It must represent the eternal.

But how does a world religion grapple with the fact that, throughout its history, important beliefs or practices have become obsolete?

In this two-part series, Imam for the Islamic Centre at New York University Khalid Latif, addresses religion as a difficult learning process with believers and leading theological thinkers.

Using historic and contemporary examples, the Imam examines how religions revise, update or even apologise.

In part two Khalid will look at the Catholic Church.

He’ll meet members of the Vatican Observatory, discussing how far the Church has come since the trial of Galileo.

He will muse on the history and future of the Church with lay Catholics.

With prominent rabbis, Khalid also examines how Judaism adapts to cultural pressure, interpreting the lessons and laws of the Torah.

(Image: Imam Khalid Latif. Credit: Bryan Derballa).

02 LASTAbsolving The Past20120429

Imam Khalid Latif considers what happens when world religions change their minds.

02 LASTAbsolving The Past20120430
02 LASTBosnia's War Babies20091104

Wendy Robbins tells the story of two women who were raped as a result of the Bosnian war.

One of the many charges faced by Radovan Karadžić at The Hague is that of organising the rape of 20,000 Bosnian Muslim women.

This programme tells the story of two professional women – a lawyer and a judge – who were kept for months in Omarska camp along with 3,500 mainly Muslim men.

They were raped and beaten by their Serb guards.

One of them has now returned to her home town, to find it ethnically cleansed of Muslims like herself.

Not only has she come face to face with her tormentors, she has to endure history being rewritten in front of her.

Both women used their legal skills and contacts to take international action against their guards.

But many other women are forced to turn detective, and gather their own evidence to bring their rapists to book.

02 LASTBosnia's War Babies20091105

Wendy Robbins tells the story of two women who were raped as a result of the Bosnian war.

02 LASTBosnia's War Babies20091107

One of the many charges faced by Radovan Karadžić at The Hague is that of organising the rape of 20,000 Bosnian Muslim women.

This programme tells the story of two professional women – a lawyer and a judge – who were kept for months in Omarska camp along with 3,500 mainly Muslim men.

They were raped and beaten by their Serb guards.

One of them has now returned to her home town, to find it ethnically cleansed of Muslims like herself.

Not only has she come face to face with her tormentors, she has to endure history being rewritten in front of her.

Both women used their legal skills and contacts to take international action against their guards.

But many other women are forced to turn detective, and gather their own evidence to bring their rapists to book.

Wendy Robbins tells the story of two women who were raped as a result of the Bosnian war.

02 LASTBosnia's War Babies20091108
02 LASTBosnia's War Babies20100728
02 LASTBosnia's War Babies20100729

The story of teenagers 'born from hate', as a result of war rape in Bosnia, who are now.

02 LASTBosnia's War Babies20100731

It's been 15 years since the end of the Bosnian war.

Among the war crimes committed was the rape of countless women.

Wendy Robbins hears the story of two of them – a lawyer and a judge – who were kept for months in Omarska camp along with 3,500 men, mainly Muslim.

They were raped and beaten by their Serb guards.

One of them has now returned to her home town to find it ethnically cleansed of Muslims like herself.

Not only has she come face to face with her tormentors, she has to endure history being rewritten in front of her.

Both women used their legal skills and contacts to take international action against their guards.

But many other women are forced to turn detective, and gather their own evidence to bring their rapists to book.

The story of two women who survived rape in the Bosnian war.

02 LASTBosnia's War Babies20100801

The story of two women who survived rape in the Bosnian war.

02 LASTCelibacy20100602

When did celibacy become mandatory for the priests in the Catholic Church?

“I wish that all were as I myself am”

The apostle Paul advocating what he believed to be the most holy state – celibate and devoted to God.

But when did celibacy become mandatory for the priesthood in the Catholic Church, and why is there a growing movement to have that rule over-turned.

Heart and Soul examines the unmarried life of the priest in a two part series.

There are growing calls from Churches and congregations across South America and many European countries, including Germany and Ireland, to allow priests to marry.

Heart and Soul talk to priests who have been forced to leave the church because they've broken their vow of chastity, and to their offspring, tainted by shame.

With the Catholic Church mired in several sexual abuse scandals around the world, critics are arguing that part of the blame lies with the continuing demand for celibacy.

Heart and Soul examines whether celibacy is out-dated and talks to those both for and against its continuation.

02 LASTCelibacy20100603
02 LASTCelibacy20100605

“I wish that all were as I myself am”

The apostle Paul advocating what he believed to be the most holy state – celibate and devoted to God.

But when did celibacy become mandatory for the priesthood in the Catholic Church, and why is there a growing movement to have that rule over-turned.

Heart and Soul examines the unmarried life of the priest in a two part series.

There are growing calls from Churches and congregations across South America and many European countries, including Germany and Ireland, to allow priests to marry.

Heart and Soul talk to priests who have been forced to leave the church because they’ve broken their vow of chastity, and to their offspring, tainted by shame.

With the Catholic Church mired in several sexual abuse scandals around the world, critics are arguing that part of the blame lies with the continuing demand for celibacy.

Heart and Soul examines whether celibacy is out-dated and talks to those both for and against its continuation.

When did celibacy become mandatory for the priests in the Catholic Church?

02 LASTCelibacy20100606
02 LASTChoosing Life20120414
02 LASTChoosing Life20120415
02 LASTChoosing Life20120416
02 LASTChristianity In China20100901

Christopher Landau tells the story of the rapid growth of state-sanctioned Christianity.

Christopher Landau tells the story of the rapid growth of state-sanctioned Christianity in China, and its impact on society.

02 LASTChristianity In China20100902

Christopher Landau tells the story of the rapid growth of state-sanctioned Christianity.

02 LASTChristianity In China20100904
02 LASTChristianity In China20100905
02 LASTChristianity In China20110514

Christopher Landau continues his journey of discovery among China's state-sanctioned Christian churches.

He meets a 94-year-old Catholic bishop who regrets that because of China's one-child policy, few parents want their sons to be priests.

The bishop thinks Pope Benedict is too conservative on matters like contraception.

The programme also visits a church-run old people's home where the residents happily own up to loving both God and Chairman Mao.

And we hear from a factory owner who would much rather employ Christian workers than unbelievers.

But why is it that the Communist authorities allow Christianity to flourish so freely now?

More amazing insights into officially sanctioned Christianity in Communist China.

02 LASTChristianity In China20110515

More amazing insights into officially sanctioned Christianity in Communist China.

02 LASTChristianity In China20110516
02 LASTGanga Ma - Voices Of The River20100414
02 LASTGanga Ma - Voices Of The River20100415
02 LASTGanga Ma - Voices Of The River20100417

Heart and Soul follows the journey of the River Ganges from Haridawar to the Bay of Bengal

In 2008, the Ganges was named India's national river.

It is also known as the Hindu mother goddess Ganga, who gives life and salvation.

In January 2010, the Ganges played host to the world's largest gathering of people, who congregated at the city of Haridawar - the point at which the river descends from the Himalayan plains - for the Hindu festival of Ardha Kumbla.

Taking this as its starting point, the series will journey down the Ganges towards its delta in the Bay of Bengal, collecting sounds and stories from among the 400 million or so who live and work on it, day in, day out.

In the city of Varanasi we hear the stories of two river boat men.

Bhaiyalal has been ferrying passengers across the river all his working life, taking them from temple to temple in this city of pilgrimage and tourism.

In an attempt to combat the rising tide of pollution that continually threatens to drown out the river, Bhaiyalal built a boat out of plastic bottles that he has collected from the Ganges.

He believes it is the smallest boat on the river and now uses it to carry one person at a time.

In the same city, Bhuvam also works as a boatman, amazing visitors with songs from the Indian classical tradition as he rows.

During his years on the river, Bhuvam has listened to and learnt from the music of artists who come to perform in the city, and now adds his voice to the rich sounds that emerge from the Ganges' waters.

He has become a local tourist attraction in his own right.

02 LASTGanga Ma - Voices Of The River20100418

Heart and Soul follows the journey of the River Ganges from Haridawar to the Bay of Bengal.

02 LASTHaiti Earthquake One Year On20110115

In the second of two reports from Haiti one year after its devastating earthquake, Edward Stourton continues his investigation of how religion has influenced the provision of international aid.

In the midst of a cholera outbreak he finds a powerless and mistrusted government, a health system kept going only by foreign agencies, and a deepening child trafficking problem.

The ruling elite are intent on caring for themselves and staying apart from the suffering poor, while one million people are still living under canvas.

In a country where religion is an often an explosive mix of Voodoo and Catholic beliefs and practices, American evangelists are now offering aid in exchange for souls.

And they are talking of God's "curse" on the country's voodoo roots.

The effects of religion on international aid 12 months after Haiti's earthquake.

02 LASTHaiti Earthquake One Year On20110116

The effects of religion on international aid 12 months after Haiti's earthquake.

02 LASTHaiti One Year On20110112

The effects of religion on international aid 12 months after Haiti's earthquake

In the second of two reports from Haiti one year after its devastating earthquake, Edward Stourton continues his investigation of how religion has influenced the provision of international aid.

In the midst of a cholera outbreak he finds a powerless and mistrusted government, a health system kept going only by foreign agencies, and a deepening child trafficking problem.

The ruling elite are intent on caring for themselves and staying apart from the suffering poor, while one million people are still living under canvas.

In a country where religion is an often an explosive mix of Voodoo and Catholic beliefs and practices, American evangelists are now offering aid in exchange for souls.

And they are talking of God's "curse" on the country's voodoo roots.

02 LASTHaiti One Year On20110113
02 LASTHospice Chronicles20100224

Training did not prepare hospice volunteer Joe for a dramatic turn of events.

follows two volunteers over a period of eight months as they first train and then begin their first assignments in patients' homes in Michigan, USA.

In the second part, hospice volunteer Joe Haase attempts to give his client something to live for.

But things develop in a very different way than Joe might have foreseen.

Produced by Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister of Long Haul Productions, Michigan, USA.

02 LASTHospice Chronicles20100225

Training did not prepare hospice volunteer Joe for a dramatic turn of events.

02 LASTHospice Chronicles20100227
02 LASTHospice Chronicles20100228
02 LASTLiving Along Africa's Faultlines20120324

An exploration of Muslim-Christian relations in East Africa.

In the second part of his series, Solomon Mugera, the BBC's Africa Editor, examines life along the Eastern part of Africa's religious faultline - the line where the Muslim North meets the Christian South.

From Sudan and the newly independent South Sudan, he hears what it means for religious minorities on both sides that the two countries are now separate.

And he discovers what happened when US evangelist Franklin Graham attempted to convert Sudan's President, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, to Christianity.

We also hear how a Muslim woman in Uganda is joining hands with Christian bishops to combat the country's alarming deforestation.

And Solomon and guests discuss the power of religious identity, which is at once local and global.

Photo: Hajjat Aphwa Kaawaase Sebyala (right), Uganda's "mother of the trees," with Christian colleague Gertrude Sebyayi.

02 LASTLiving Along Africa's Faultlines20120325

An exploration of Muslim-Christian relations in East Africa.

02 LASTLove Over The Wall20091209
02 LASTLove Over The Wall20091210
02 LASTReturn To Zanzibar20090725

Yasmin Alibhai Brown discovers whether the memory of slavery still haunts the people of Zanzibar, or if faith can unite them.

Yasmin Alibhai Brown discovers whether the memory of slavery still haunts the people of.

02 LASTReturn To Zanzibar20090726

Yasmin Alibhai Brown discovers whether the memory of slavery still haunts the people of.

02 LASTReturn To Zanzibar, Return To Zanzibar - 220090725

YASMIN ALIBHAI-BROWN returns to Zanzibar on a very personal journey, to the idyllic island she visited as a child.

It was here during holidays with her mother in the 1950s and 1960s that she first found the remnants of caves, used to hold thousands of slaves, and learnt about Zanzibar's slave past.

 

In the second of two programmes, Yasmin, explores how far the legacy of slavery and the memories of injustice were used to fight political battles in the 20th century.

For Yasmin, the Revolution in 1964 marked the end of her visits to the island of her childhood, and shattered her hopes that Africans, Indians and Arabs could live in harmony.

In Heart and Soul she talks to survivors of the uprising, and asks whether the history of this island will ever be laid to rest.

Yasmin Albhai-Brown looks at the political battles of 20th century Zanzibar.

02 LASTReturn To Zanzibar, Return To Zanzibar - 220090726

Yasmin Albhai-Brown looks at the political battles of 20th century Zanzibar.

02 LASTVoice Of The Voiceless20100324

Julian Miglierini looks at the legacy of El Salvador's advocate of the poor, Archbishop.

Julian Miglierini looks at the legacy of El Salvador's advocate of the poor, Archbishop Romero, who was shot dead 30 years ago.

02 LASTVoice Of The Voiceless20100325

Julian Miglierini looks at the legacy of El Salvador's advocate of the poor, Archbishop.

02 LASTVoice Of The Voiceless20100327

Every year on 24th March, the people of El Salvador remember the death of the man who throughout Latin America became known as the voice of the voiceless poor: Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was shot dead at the altar on 24th March 1980.

But is the Catholic church he loved in terminal decline, in a country where more than one-third of the population now attend evangelical Protestant churches?

Julian Miglierini continus his visit to El Salvador to find out.

He goes to a Baptist megachurch in San Salvador where close to 80,000 people worship every week, and asks why its message should have such enormous appeal in a traditionally Catholic country.

But while the Catholic church may be losing members, Oscar Romero himself seems to have lost little of his appeal.

El Salvador's new left-wing President, Mauricio Funes, calls him his inspiration.

And this bookish Archbishop in his 60s has also become an unlikely icon of youth culture.

Hear why the Hip Hop band, Pescozada, have just released a track in homage to him.

Illustration above: Thousands listen attentively as the gospel is preached at this Baptist megachurch in San Salvador.

Is Archbishop Romero's legacy still relevant in El Salvador?

02 LASTVoice Of The Voiceless20100328

Is Archbishop Romero's legacy still relevant in El Salvador?

02 LASTWandering Souls20110619
02 LASTWandering Souls20110620
03Guilt, Repentance And Forgiveness20090815

Two mothers who wrestled with the issue of forgiveness after their children were killed in the London bombings.

Two mothers who wrestled with the issue of forgiveness after their children were killed.

03Guilt, Repentance And Forgiveness20090816

Two mothers who wrestled with the issue of forgiveness after their children were killed.

03 LASTFame, Blame And Shame20100707
03 LASTFame, Blame And Shame20100708

Michael Ford explores the spiritual dimensions of Fame, Blame and Shame through vivid s.

03 LASTFame, Blame And Shame20100710

Jide Macaulay on what it has meant for him to be Nigerian, Christian and gay.

Jide Macaulay was born into a devout Pentecostal Christian family in Lagos, Nigeria.

His father is a well-known theologian.

As a child, Jide loved church more than playing with his friends.

But around the age of 11, he began to become aware that he was different from other boys.

Much to his horror, he realised that he was gay.

In conversation with Michael Ford, Jide recalls the inner conflicts he went through as a teenager and a young man, in a country where it is almost inconceivable that anyone can be both a committed Christian and homosexual.

We hear how he learnt to embrace his orientation after a failed marriage.

Leaving behind the deep shame he had felt, he founded a church for gay and lesbian people in Lagos: the House of Rainbow.

Driven out of the country by death threats, Jide now continues his ministry to African gay and lesbian Christians from his home in London, through a vibrant "virtual" church.

He has become a well-known voice in Africa and beyond.

03 LASTFame, Blame And Shame20100711

Jide Macaulay on what it has meant for him to be Nigerian, Christian and gay.

03 LASTFame, Blame And Shame20120121

Jide Macaulay on what it has meant for him to be Nigerian, Christian and gay.

Michael Ford explores the spiritual dimensions of fame, blame, and shame with Jide Macauley.

03 LASTFame, Blame And Shame20120122
03 LASTFame, Blame And Shame20120123

Jide Macaulay was born into a devout Pentecostal Christian family in Lagos, Nigeria. His father is a well-known theologian.

As a child, Jide loved church more than playing with his friends.

But around the age of 11, he began to become aware that he was different from other boys.

Much to his horror, he realized that he was gay.

In conversation with Michael Ford, Jide recalls the inner conflicts he went through as a teenager and a young man, in a country where it's almost inconceivable that anyone can be both a committed Christian and homosexual.

We hear how he learnt to embrace his orientation after a failed marriage.

Leaving behind the deep shame he had felt, he founded a church for gay and lesbian people in Lagos: the House of Rainbow.

Driven out of the country by death threats, Jide now continues his ministry to African gay and lesbian Christians from his home in London, through a vibrant "virtual" church.

He has become a well-known voice in Africa and beyond.

Jide Macaulay on what it's meant for him to be Nigerian, Christian - and gay.

Jide Macaulay on what it has meant for him to be Nigerian, Christian and gay.

03 LASTGod In China20111015

Christianity and Catholicism are seen as separate religions in China.

They are also treated differently to the other three official religions, partly because they are both still seen as Western.

However, Chinese Christianity is exploding: China will soon become the largest Christian country on earth.

The authorities are nervous.

In this programme, Tim Gardam explores why and meets members of both the official and underground churches.

The explosion of Christianity in this vast country of 1.4 billion people.

03 LASTGod In China20111016

The explosion of Christianity in this vast country of 1.4 billion people.

03 LASTGod In China20111017
03 LASTSpiritual Journeys20100210

Poet Imtiaz Dharker is far too earthy to want to be labelled merely a 'spiritual writer'.

The poet, artist and film-maker Imtiaz Dharker was born a Muslim in Lahore, Pakistan and educated at a school with a strict Protestant ethic in Glasgow where her family moved to when she was a child.

When growing up she began to question and challenge the restrictions of her religion, particularly on women, and poetry was a place where she could do this.

The titles of some of her poetry collections reflect the issues she grapples with: Postcards from God, I Speak for the Devil, and The Terrorist at my Table.

In her recent collection Leaving Fingerprints, Imtiaz Dharker has been inspired by the Sufi poets and attracted by their belief in the continuous recreation of the self.

However, Imtiaz Dharker is far too earthy and sensual to want to be labelled as merely a 'spiritual writer'.

Presenter: Bidisha

Producer: Kate Howells.

03 LASTSpiritual Journeys20100211

Poet Imtiaz Dharker is far too earthy to want to be labelled merely a 'spiritual writer'.

03 LASTSpiritual Journeys20100213

The poet, artist and film-maker Imtiaz Dharker was born a Muslim in Lahore, Pakistan and educated at a school with a strict Protestant ethic in Glasgow where her family moved to when she was a child.

When growing up she began to question and challenge the restrictions of her religion, particularly on women, and poetry was a place where she could do this.

The titles of some of her poetry collections reflect the issues she grapples with: Postcards from God, I Speak for the Devil, and The Terrorist at my Table.

In her recent collection Leaving Fingerprints, Imtiaz Dharker has been inspired by the Sufi poets and attracted by their belief in the continuous recreation of the self.

However, Imtiaz Dharker is far too earthy and sensual to want to be labelled as merely a 'spiritual writer'.

Presenter: Bidisha

Producer: Kate Howells

Poet Imtiaz Dharker is far too earthy to want to be labelled merely a 'spiritual writer'.

03 LASTSpiritual Journeys20100214
03 LASTThe Bosphorus20110709

Edward Stourton journeys down one of the most evocative stretches of water in the world, the meeting point of Europe and Asia.

Edward Stourton journeys down one of the most evocative stretches of water in the world.

03 LASTThe Bosphorus20110710
03 LASTThe Bosphorus20110711

Istanbul is, famously, the only city in the world to straddle two continents - Europe and Asia.

The dividing line is the Bosphorus.

Edward Stourton has been exploring the life and rich history of this stretch of water, which is 31 kilometers long.

The Bosphorus gives Istanbul its unique character.

But, as we hear in this last programme of the series, having a foot in both Europe and Asia forces the people who live there to ask themselves interesting questions about their identity and the future of Turkey.

What does it mean for the people of Istanbul to have one foot in Europe and one in Asia?

Edward Stourton journeys down one of the most evocative stretches of water in the world.

03 LASTThe Right Thing20111126

Why former priest Romy Tiongco is living under the shadow of death in the Philippines.

Miriam O’Reilly presents the final part of her series exploring personal stories of integrity, courage, and the cost of doing the right thing.

Her guest this week is Romy Tiongco, a former Catholic priest and aid worker now fighting corruption as mayor of Philippine town.

Romy has spent a lifetime fighting poverty - first as a Catholic priest, then as a worker for the international development charity, Christian Aid.

In the 1970s, he was an outspoken opponent of the regime of Ferdinand Marcos.

More recently, Romy was encouraged to stand for mayor in the town of Damulog.

Initially reluctant, he was persuaded by the murder of a friend to take up the challenge in order to try to improve the lives of ordinary people and challenge the culture of corruption.

In the run up to the election, Romy faced death threats.

He continued his campaign believing that it might be what God was asking of him as a way of serving the people.

Photograph shows Romy Tiongco.

03 LASTThe Right Thing20111127

Why former priest Romy Tiongco is living under the shadow of death in the Philippines.

03 LASTThe Right Thing20111128
04Why Remain A Catholic?20100919