Heart And Soul - 500th Anniversary Of The Reformation [world Service]

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Heart and Soul explores and celebrates the idea of reform in the world’s major religions, and the women disrupting the status quo.

To mark the 500th anniversary idea of Reformation which spilt Christianity, Heart and Soul investigates the role of women in disrupting the status quo and challenging the traditions in three of the main religions that have been preserved, in many cases, for centuries.

In this first programme, Samira Ahmed is in Copenhagen, Denmark, to explore whether Islam will ever properly embrace the idea that women can become Imams, prayer leaders, give sermons and offer guidance to both men and women.

Copenhagen is the home to Sherin Khankan who made headlines around the world for opening a Mosque that promised equal status for women and aimed to include gay Muslims within its community.

Opposition to the Mosque has been swift and vitriolic, a sign of the polarising argument that the scriptures simply do not support prayers led by a woman. Samira Ahmed is joined by Seyran Ates, the most controversial of female Imams, who tells her how she received death threats after she opened her ‘female-friendly’ Mosque in Berlin.

Many countries in northern Europe are experiencing a shift in their racial and religious landscape due to a new wave of migration, but against this backdrop are small but significant challenges to the idea that religious leaders have to always be men.

In Copenhagen, Samira heads a panel to ask whether this is a sustainable feminist challenge and the green shoots of a long term reform, or an ideal destined to fail in a faith where roles are very clearly defined.

Presenter: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Lissa Cook and Richard McIlroy

(Photo: Seyran Ates)

0220171020

Heart and Soul explores and celebrates the idea of reform in the world’s major religions, and the women disrupting the status quo.

Dotted around London, in the concentrated areas where Orthodox Jews have made their home, groups of believers meet to pray and share their faith. Nothing unusual in that, but what make these gatherings significant are that women are leading the prayers, and they are sharing their celebration with men,

These prayer groups are called Partnership Minyans, and have become a symbol of a major shift in Judaism making many traditional believers extremely uncomfortable

With a panel in London, Emma Barnett asks what does this mean for this deeply traditional faith? Does this challenge to the structures of worship signal a new era of feminism with Orthodox Judaism?

In the second programme of our special series to mark the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation led by Martin Luther, which split the Catholic church, Emma leads a panel discussion from the JW3 centre in north London to meet the ‘reformers’ to explore how they want their faith to change its attitudes to women and those whose resistance to it is based on the centuries old deep teaching of their faith.

Presenter: Emma Barnett
Producer: Richard McIlroy

Dotted around London, in the concentrated areas where Orthodox Jews have made their home, groups of believers meet to pray and share their faith. Nothing unusual in that, but what make these gatherings significant are that women are leading the prayers, and they are sharing their celebration with men,

These prayer groups are called Partnership Minyans, and have become a symbol of a major shift in Judaism making many traditional believers extremely uncomfortable

With a panel in London, Emma Barnett asks what does this mean for this deeply traditional faith? Does this challenge to the structures of worship signal a new era of feminism with Orthodox Judaism?

In the second programme of our special series to mark the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation led by Martin Luther, which split the Catholic church, Emma leads a panel discussion from the JW3 centre in north London to meet the ‘reformers’ to explore how they want their faith to change its attitudes to women and those whose resistance to it is based on the centuries old deep teaching of their faith.

(Photo: Left to right: Rabbi Andrew Shaw, Chief Executive of Mizrachi UK; Dina Brawer, UK Ambassador, Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance; presenter Emma Barnett; Dr Gaby Scher, Co-chair of Kehillat Nashira Partnership Minyan; Dr Miri Freud-Kandel, Fellow in Modern Judaism at Oxford University)

Presenter: Emma Barnett
Producer: Richard McIlroy

03Africa’s Mother20171027

Mercy Amba Oduyoye uses her faith to challenge many of the practices in African society

Mercy Amba-Oduoye is a true reformer; in fact in her native Ghana she embodies the phrase.

She is called the Mother of African Feminist Christian Theology and is globally recognised as the leader of a movement that has constantly challenged the male preconception of being ‘a good girl’ a phrase in Africa which means not questioning the established role and place of young women.

In the third programme in the special season on Heart and Soul focussing on reforming faith, Anne Soy travels to Accra, the Ghanaian capital, to meet Mercy to find out how she has channelled her faith to educate young Ghanaian women – and those in other parts of Africa - that many of the practices that have become part of life for women such as polygamy, marital rape or FGM have no theological basis.

Mercy, now well into her 80’s, will tell Anne that male-led faiths have allowed many of these practices to go unquestioned, and how she has given over her life to God to disrupt and challenge the deeply entrenched thinking and attitudes in countries where religious and spiritual leader have such an influence on society and culture

Presenter: Anne Soy
Production: Anne Soy and Sulley Lansah

Image: Anne Soy

Heart and Soul explores and celebrates the idea of reform in the world’s major religions, and the women disrupting the status quo.