A look at the ethical and religious issues of the week

A look at the ethical and religious issues of the week


London, United Kingdom




A look at the ethical and religious issues of the week




Islamic Art; Faith & Politics; Favourite Carols

Islam has given the world some exquisite and spectacularly beautiful art. Now, modern Islamic Art is being celebrated at Bayt Al Fann, a two-day international digital festival on 28-29 November. The event will showcase contemporary artists from across the world, who have been inspired by the Islamic tradition. It will also explore how Islamic art might evolve in the future. William Crawley meets two of the artists, British-Bahraini poet Taher Adel, who is a spoken word performer and Samira...


Sunday: Islamic Art; Faith & Politics; Favourite Carols

William Crawley examines some of the ethical and religious issues of the week.


Courtney Pine, Qatar and Fifa, New Anglican Denominations

Albania’s Catholic Bishops have raised concerns about the depopulation of their country through migration. Edward Stourton explores the impact of this with Sister Imelda Poole, who works much of the year in Albania and is President of RENATE, an organisation dedicated to combatting human trafficking. Jazz musician Courtney Pine is back on tour across the UK performing material from his new album ‘Spirituality’. He tells the Sunday programme how religion, spirituality and jazz have all come...


Wayside Pulpits, Leicester Inquiry, Women in Qatar

Back in September violence spread between Hindu and Muslim groups on the streets of Leicester. An inquiry was swiftly set up to look into the unrest, but the academic chosen to lead the review has had to step down just days after being appointed. William Crawley and guests examine the issues. With a week to go until the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, what is life like for women there? BBC presenter Salma El Wardany has been finding out for a World Service documentary, along with Yousra Samir...


Same-Sex Marriage and the Church of England; Meat-Free Fridays; Bellringing for the King

It's an issue which has divided the Church of England for decades, and now the Bishop of Oxford, the Right Reverend Dr. Steven Croft has become the most senior cleric in the Church to speak out in favour of same-sex marriage. But will the growing support for the bishop's stance make any difference to the future direction of the church? Ed Stourton explores the issue with Dr Andrew Goddard, he was on the Steering Group for the church's Living and Loving in Faith Project and is a member of the...


Hindu PM; Brazil elections; Religious relics; Nasheed choir

We have a new Hindu Prime Minister! It's the first time this has happened in the UK. So how will Rishi Sunak's faith inform his leadership? We find out from two experts. Many are dreading the cost of fuel bills this Winter - but a new faith-led campaign is offering people the chance to use free, safe, warm spaces across the UK. The Warm Welcome campaign, set up by the ChurchWorks Commission, has signed up more 2,200 organisations to the scheme and has an interactive map on its website...


Politics and Trust; Sikh Community Kitchens; Poetry and Faith

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its final report. One of the key recommendations is for mandatory reporting of child sex abuse, even if that abuse is disclosed to a priest in a confessional. So, what are the implications for those churches with a confessional tradition where confidentiality is sacrosanct? William speaks to bishop Paul Mason, the lead on safeguarding for the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The Sikh community kitchens known as ‘Langar’ are...


British embassy in Israel; Diwali; Iranian hijab protests.

Although the Middle East may not currently be high on the prime minister's list of priorities, faith leaders have increasingly been speaking out about her controversial proposal to move the British Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital, and it’s one of the most sensitive issues in their long running conflict. As the BBC's religion reporter Harry Farley explains, if the British Embassy was relocated, it would break with...


Themed weddings; Muslims and mental health; Jake Thackray

Photos emerged this week of a couple renewing their marriage vows in a Star Wars-themed ceremony in Wales. William Crawley explores the implications of themed weddings in churches. A new research project will investigate why some Muslims find it hard to access mental health services, and how more could get the help they need. We consider some of the barriers to effective treatment. The poet-singer Jake Thackray rose to fame on prime time Saturday night TV in the 1960s and 1970s with his...


Iran and the Hijab; Faith in the reign of King Charles; Rural Church Monuments

For the first time in Northern Ireland’s one hundred and one year history, Census figures reveal there are more people from a Catholic background than there are Protestants. Emily Buchanan looks at what this moment means for the future of the Province. How do you engage post-millennials in the subject of Theology? Two of the finalists in this year’s ‘Theology Slam’, a competition to find new voices who think theologically about the modern world, enlighten us. The death in custody of 22...


Elvis's Faith; Black British Muslims; Cathedral Music

Elvis Presley was many things to many people, but few see him as a religious figure. He recorded several songs with religious themes, including Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art, but rarely spoke publicly about his beliefs. Now, his step-brother, Billy Stanley has co-written a book, The Faith of Elvis, telling the story of the singer's interest in religion and in particular his love of the Bible. He shares his personal memories of Elvis, and how his songs were often inspired by his...


State funeral; Radical generosity; Folk songs in church

The State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II will be the biggest ceremonial event held in the UK in recent times. It will be the first state funeral since that of Winston Churchill in 1965. It will be attended by political leaders, royals and heads of state from across the world. We consider the history of state and royal funerals, and the extent to which they have adapted to reflect the country’s changing religious and cultural landscape. There has been a call for a spirit of "radical...


The Queen and Faith

In this special edition of Sunday, Edward Stourton reflects on the late Queen Elizabeth II's relationship to faith, explores how she stood for continuity amid so much change and hears from leaders of some of the many religious groups that flourished as never before in the second Elizabethan era. Producers: Jill Collins and Julia Paul Editor: Dan Tierney


Pope John Paul I; Pakistan floods; Disability at church

His was the shortest papacy in modern times. The sudden death of Pope John Paul I, after a pontificate of just 33 days, shocked the world and generated a host of conspiracy theories. As his beatification this weekend takes him one stage closer to becoming a saint, we speak to a man who was invited by the Vatican to investigate his death, John Cornwell, author of ‘A Thief in the Night: Life and Death in the Vatican'. The devastating floods in Pakistan have left millions of people homeless and...


Liverpool shooting; Great cathedrals; Russian Jews

Churches in Liverpool are today opening their doors to members of the community still struggling to come to terms with the shooting of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel. Olivia was killed as her mother struggled with a gunman at the door of their home on Monday. The Right Reverend Beverley Mason is the acting Bishop of Liverpool and also Bishop of Warrington. She tells William Crawley about the support they can offer. An astonishing 20,500 of Russia's estimated 165,000 Jews have left Russia...


William Shatner, Bahá’is in Iran, Class in the Church of England

How do we preserve memories of loved ones after their death? An innovative new technology has been developed that allows people to interact virtually with someone who has recorded answers to a series of questions before their death. We discuss the moral implications and hear from the actor William Shatner who has documented his own life in a video for future generations. In Iran, there are reports that authorities have arrested several leaders from the Bahá’i community and demolished homes....



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...


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...



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,...


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...