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Eight films exploring the impact religion has on the lives of believers and non-believers in Britain today

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Eight films exploring the impact religion has on the lives of believers and non-believers in Britain today

  • Mr Razzaq and Mr Haq

    Muslim and Looking for Love

    If you're young, single and Muslim, finding love is getting increasingly difficult.

    Qualifications, height, job prospects and even complexion are high on the list of demands. Then there's the question of nationality. Will your husband or wife come from Britain or from abroad?

    For professional women, educated Muslim men are in short supply. Muslim men tend to marry at a younger age, not good news when you're pushing 30.

    At the Birmingham Central Mosque, they think they have the answer. As well as ministering to its congregation, it also offers the services of one of the largest Muslim marriage bureaus.

    The Bureau has over a thousand people on its books and Mr Haq and Mr Razzaq are the voluntary matchmakers. Unlikely as it may seem, these two middle-aged men are at the vanguard of a Muslim marriage revolution. For them, the Bureau offers a third way, a space between the traditional arranged marriage and the Western dating scene.

  • Miriam Saleh

    Divorce: Jewish Style

    In Jewish law, it is the husband's right to decide whether he will give his wife a divorce, called a Get.

    If he refuses her, the wife may be sentenced to years of living in a dead marriage.

    She cannot remarry in the Orthodox Jewish way, and any child she has from a new relationship is considered illegitimate. In Hebrew, she is called an Agunah: a 'chained woman'.

    With rare access to the Orthodox Jewish community, both here in the UK and also in Israel, this film explores the controversial world of Jewish divorce to find out why these apparently outmoded laws still hold sway.

  • The Exhumer

    The Exhumer

    An observational documentary following the work of exhumation specialist, Peter Mitchell, whose profession has already seen him exhume 30,000 bodies - sometimes individuals, sometimes whole cemeteries - and rebury them in new graves.

    He was the man tasked with the exhumation of 15,000 bodies from the ground beneath St Pancras station to make way for the cross channel rail link, and he's moved countless other bodies at the request of relatives.

    Digging up the dead raises profound ethical and religious questions, and taps into our very sense of ourselves. Whether you are in favour or against it, it provokes strong emotions.

    With over 25 years experience in 'bereavement services', including cemetery management and cremation, Mitchell is well-established as one the UK's leading exhumation consultants. But you can't just go around digging people up - you need a good reason, and permission from the relevant authorities - often the Church of England.

    We follow Peter over several months as he supervises the controversial exhumation of a Christian cemetery in Egypt - where some of the bodies have been buried for as little as just a few months - and oversees a mass exhumation job at an old churchyard in Scotland.

  • A Royal Marine chaplain

    Commando Chaplains

    The last place you might expect to find a chaplain is on the frontline with the Royal Marines, dodging bullets in Afghanistan. And yet chaplains have served in the British Armed forces since the Middle Ages.

    Their job is a vital one: administering to the wounded, listening to the fearful, and offering spiritual guidance in the heart of war. As religion is dragged into conflicts, by the rhetoric of jihad and crusade, the military chaplain is increasingly coming under the spotlight.

    Filmed earlier this year, this programme follows two Royal Marine chaplains, Nigel Beardsley and William Gates, as they travel around 'their parish' in Afghanistan, bringing faith to the frontline.

    Unlike the other armed services, they go whereever their parishioners need them and that often means putting themselves in the line of fire with nothing but their faith to protect them.

    It is a story not just of belief, but of heroism, human grit and the role of religion on the modern battlefield.

  • Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

    How Do You Know God Exists?

    Leading figures in the five principal faiths in Britain discuss their beliefs and answer questions about their basic faith and their own spiritual journeys.

    The key figures interviewed are Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, Muslim theologian Tariq Ramadan, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Sadhu Paramtattvadas.

    As well as addressing the 'big questions', including their concepts of God, heaven and hell, they speak frankly about their struggles and frequent moments of doubt, about the divisions within their ranks and crimes that have been committed in the name of religion.

  • Jon Ronson

    How to Find God

    Author and filmmaker Jon Ronson asks, how do agnostics come to Christianity?

    Increasingly, it's through Alpha, a course devised many years ago in a well-heeled church in London's Knightsbridge, but which now operates in tens of thousands of churches of all denominations, in universities, prisons and military bases across the world.

    Over 11 million people worldwide have now attended an Alpha course. But what happens on it? And do agnostics really become Christians in such a short space of time?

    Afforded complete access to one Alpha course, at St Aldate's Church in Oxford, Jon documents the whole process over its eight weeks.

  • Aysha and Zara

    Muslim School

    Muslim School traces the lives of two girls from very different backgrounds in their first year at a Muslim faith school.

    The Nottingham Islamia has opened its doors to cameras, giving a rare insight, through the eyes of two children, into what it means to have a Muslim education in Britain today.

    Seven-year-old Zara is third generation Pakistani, and Aysha, 12, is a white girl from a mixed English/Pakistani family. Both have transferred from regular state schools to the Nottingham Islamia: one of some 130 Muslim faith schools in Britain.

    Inside the school, boys and girls line up separately at the start of each day for a timetable of Arabic lessons, Islamic studies, prayers, and a basic national curriculum.

    At lunch time, the school stage in the assembly hall doubles up as a mosque, where staff and students pray together.

    Filmed over one year, the film captures Zara and Aysha's lives both at school and at home as they make choices about their identity and beliefs.

  • Talking to the Dead

    Talking to the Dead

    Revelations gains unprecedented access to a Spiritualist Church in East London to provide an intimate portrait of people whose worlds have been transformed by a belief in life beyond the grave.

    This poignant film about grief and loss lifts the lid on a belief system which many are quick to ridicule, meeting mediums and members of the congregation and exploring the different paths that have led them to the church.

    Each member of the congregation has a different story but all take comfort in their visits to the church. Is their religion a fool's paradise or do Spiritualists perhaps have access to a world which most of us prefer not to contemplate: the world of the afterlife?

    One of more than 400 Spiritualist churches across the UK, this East London church has been around for 80 years. The services are lead not by priests, but by visiting mediums who are invited to give demonstrations of their ability to make contact with the dead.

    For Spiritualists, the descriptions and messages that the mediums deliver amount to scientific proof of the existence of a Spirit World that can and does communicate from beyond the grave. For Spiritualists, death is just the start of a new phase.

Revelations synopsis

Eight films exploring the impact religion has on the lives of believers and non-believers in Britain today

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