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  • 14/08/2022
    The stabbing of author Salman Rushdie has again ignited the debate around freedom of speech and religious sensibilities. At this stage it's not known why the 75-year-old was attacked. The broadcaster and journalist Mobeen Azhar, who produced the podcast Fatwa, joins us to talk about the background to the threats made against Salman Rushdie after the publication of his book "The Satanic Verses" in 1988. It is already a whole year since the Taliban took over again in Afghanistan. Thousands of refugees were able to come to the UK - but a year on, up to 10,000 are still living in cramped hotels, while for those left in Afghanistan, life is even more precarious. Marzia Babakarkhail, who was a judge in Kabul, came to the UK in 2008 after the Taliban tried to assassinate her twice. She arrived with no English, but joins us to explain how now she works for the Oldham MP Debbie Abrahams on immigration and asylum seeker cases - and earlier this year ran to be a local councillor. We've talked before about the cost of living crisis, but as prices continue to rise, now religious buildings are also facing huge bills. One Methodist minister tells us that in the last year, his monthly electricity bill has risen from £70 to £1000 a month. New research from the Theos think tank finds many religious organisations are having to make difficult decisions about the services they will still be able to offer. And with many of us overwhelmed by constant stories of environmental or economic crisis, not to mention worries about physical or mental health, the Medicine Festival in Berkshire next weekend sounds like the perfect antidote. Its aim is to envision a more enlightened, peaceful and sustainable world and provides a platform for so called 'indigenous wisdom keepers' to share their teachings, ceremonies and traditional technologies. Presented by Emily Buchanan. Produced by Amanda Hancox and Julia Paul.
    8/14/2022
    40:31
  • Beyoncé and Faith, Gordon Brown and Pastor Mick; Lambeth Conference
    The former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is calling for an emergency budget to support the poorest through the autumn and winter, as the cost of living rises. He’s commissioned a report, co-signed by more than 60 faith groups and charities, which says there is a “growing gap between need and current provision” for the lowest income families. Edward Stourton is joined by Gordon Brown and Pastor Mick Fleming who runs ‘Church on the Street’, an anti-poverty charity in Burnley. The Lambeth Conference draws to a close with the dominant issue of the week being the Anglican Church’s stance on homosexuality. Two bishops with very different perspectives reflect on this and on the wider purpose of the global Anglican Communion. The singer Beyoncé's new album 'Renaissance' has gone straight to the top of the charts. Her music has often incorporated religious themes and imagery, which has made her both an empowering and controversial figure. Two fans talk about what Beyoncé means to them as black Christian women. Producers: Dan Tierney and Jill Collins Editor: Helen Grady.
    8/7/2022
    42:57
  • 31/07/2022
    The UK is being pressured to explain why changes were made to an official statement on gender equality, including removing commitments to abortion and sexual health rights, following the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief, held in London earlier this month. Norway and Denmark have approached the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to protest against the changes, and an open letter to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss from more than 20 human rights, pro-choice, and international aid groups has demanded the government reverse the deletions immediately and explain why they were made. Caroline Nokes MP, who chairs the women and equalities select committee, has also written to the foreign secretary. She tells us why she's concerned. More than 650 Anglican Bishops from around the world have arrived in Canterbury for the first Lambeth conference since 2008. The conference offers an opportunity for worship, discussion and - once again, it seems - a falling out over sex. The Church is declining in the West and growing in the Global south. Harry Farley reports on what this means for the nature and leadership of the Anglican communion. The archive used in his report was supplied by Pathe News. The Scottish Highlands and islands are criss-crossed with ‘coffin roads’, the paths along which bodies were carried for burial. Many are now popular walking and cycling routes. But their history reminds us of a time when death was a more public and ritualistic practice. Professor Ian Bradley, whose book on this has just been published, tells us what the distinctive West Highland and Hebridean approach to dying and mourning can offer us today. Presented by Edward Stourton. Produced by Julia Paul and Amanda Hancox.
    7/31/2022
    43:09
  • The Pope in Canada, faith groups at the Commonwealth games, the theology of Stranger Things
    Birmingham is gearing up for the Commonwealth Games and faith communities across the West Midlands are involved in the preparations, including Ranjit and Manpreet from Wolverhampton Wrestling Club who will both be taking part in The Queen’s Baton Relay. William speaks to them about Wolverhampton, wrestling and what it means to be a Sikh on the mat. Conservative party members are preparing to vote for their new leader and our next Prime Minister. As they decide between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, we discuss the candidates' religious hinterland and ask what bearing, if any, religious questions might have on the leadership race. The smash Netflix hit, Stranger Things, has just aired its fourth series. Some religious commentators say the success of Stranger Things is down to the fact that, at its heart, is the age-old battle between good and evil. In the latest series there seems to be no let up on the religious iconography. Culture writer Sophie Caledecott decodes some of the deeper, spiritual meanings at work in the series. Pope Francis flies to Canada this week where he’s expected to apologise for the abuse of Indigenous children in church-run residential schools. William hears from Dark Cloud, who was adopted by a British family as a child after being forcibly taken in what is known as The Sixties Scoop. Joy Spearchief-Morris, Indigenous Black Canadian writer and advocate tells us the situation in Canada and the BBC's Religion Editor, Aleem Maqbool highlights what we can expect from the Papal visit. As East Africa faces the worst drought in 40 years, William speaks to Elizabeth Myendo, Tearfund's Disaster Management Lead for East and Southern Africa live from Nairobi with an account of the impact on people living in countries like Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. The 15th Lambeth Conference is to be held in Canterbury from 26 July to 8 August. The bishops will issue affirmations and “calls” from the conference based on their discussions around mission, the environment, safe church, interfaith relations and Anglican identity but there are some notable absences. Church leaders from Rwanda, Nigeria and Uganda are boycotting the conference in protest at what they see as a liberalisation of teaching on human sexuality. The Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, is chair of the Lambeth design group and speaks to William Crawley about the boycott. And Daniel Mullhall, Ireland's ambassador to the United States, tells us about religion in James Joyce’s Ulysses.
    7/24/2022
    43:50
  • Faith and Tory Leadership Contest; Krishna Das and his Spiritual Journey; Stories marking 50 years of Uganda Asians in the UK
    In 1992 Pope John Paul II beatified just 17 individuals out of nearly 460 whose names were put forward as dying for the faith during the religious and political upheavals of 16th and 17th century Ireland. So what made these individuals stand out from the rest during this period? Former President of Ireland, Dr Mary McAleese chats to Edward Stourton about the stories she uncovered in her new book ‘The 17 Irish Martyrs’. 50 years ago, Idi Amin, then President of Uganda, ordered the expulsion of his country’s Asian minority. Around 60,000 individuals were given just 90 days to leave. Many went to Canada, India, Kenya or Pakistan. Around 28,000 came to the UK. The majority settled in Leicester where a new exhibition ‘Rebuilding Lives’ has just opened at the Museum and Art Gallery. Edward speaks to Nisha Popat, the exhibition's project leader and Mina Patel who has a personal family connection to one of the exhibits on display. Krishna Das, formerly known as Jeffery Kagel, is a Grammy-nominated vocalist who performs Indian devotional singing known as Kirtan. He took time out during the UK leg of his European tour to tell us how his spiritual journey began. As the Conservative Leadership contest enters the final stages, the majority of talk has been around tax and the cost of living. But what about religion, could that also play a role in deciding who our next Prime Minister will be? Edward discusses the contenders with Tim Montgomerie, Co-founder of the Conservative Christian Fellowship and Creator of Conservativehome.com and Dr. Ekaterina Kolpinskaya, from the University of Exeter who is researching religion and the voting habits of Conservatives. Photo Credit: Perry Julien Producers: Jill Collins and Rosie Dawson Editor: Tim Pemberton
    7/17/2022
    43:35

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