Farhad al-Kake tells the story of his people, the Kaka'i of Iraqi Kurdistan, whose faith has put them under threat from Islamic fundamentalists. Persecution has made them secretive about their beliefs and practices, but for the first time they tell of the danger they face – how places of worship have been destroyed and believers kidnapped, attacked and murdered by Isis, who hold the Kaka'i’s egalitarian, peaceful religion to be a ‘false cult’. Despite the danger, we hear how the Kaka'i are holding on to their faith on the frontline.
(Photo: Kaka'i women on rugs. Credit: Farhad al-Kake)
Beauty and belief: The story of a Brooklyn salon
For Heart and Soul, American journalist Noor Wazwaz takes us into the private world of New York’s first hijab-friendly hair and beauty salon.
Based in Brooklyn, Le'Jemalik - which means For Your Beauty in Arabic - is owned and run by Yemeni-American Huda Quhshi. A hair and beauty expert with an entrepreneurial spirit, it’s been Huda’s life-long ambition to create a beautiful, bright, enclosed women-only space where clients can let their hair down, in every sense of the word.
Modesty is the order of the day for Muslim women here in the salon, and opinions vary on just how much makeup can be worn in public. But one thing is agreed: religious modesty and a desire to be beautiful can and do go together.
We meet bridesmaids getting dolled up for their big day, hard-working mums and fashion students in need of pampering. Listening on conversations, we discover how religion and culture shape Muslim women's views about beauty and fashion. Some beauty treatments are considered haram - or forbidden by Islamic law - but there are workarounds such as halal brows and halal nail polish.
Image: A beautician at work (Credit: Joy Ernanny)
Pick up your stretcher and walk!
Like many disabled people, Damon Rose is regularly approached by Christians who want to pray for him to be healed. Would-be healers claim they’re simply doing what Jesus himself did and what he instructed his followers to do. They may mean well, but the experience can leave disabled people feeling judged as ‘faulty’ and in need of repair. Is this really what Christianity teaches about disability? In this programme, Damon (a blind journalist and open-minded non-believer) investigates different Christian approaches to disability, combining cutting-edge theology with personal stories of faith, hope and human frailty. He joins a group of Christians as they offer healing on the street, attends a healing service and meets the disabled Christians carving out a new ‘theology of disability’.
Lyndall Bywater, a Christian writer and prayer leader in the United Kingdom
Jonathan Conrathe, founder of Mission 24 – a Christian ministry that works with churches all over the world
Becky Tyler, who preached at the Greenbelt Christian festival
Candida Moss, the Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham
Rev Zoe Hemming, vicar of St Andrews Church in the village of Aston in Shropshire, England.
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(Image: Damon on the tube, Credit: Sarah Dousse)
New York Stations of the Cross
For Easter weekend Rosie Dawson joins a group of the faithful in New York as they follow a very different Stations of the Cross - a series that bears witness to the scourge of sex trafficking - a modern form of slavery - that every year traps thousands of young girls and women in the city. It marks the start of a campaign against hugely controversial plans to make New York the first state in America to completely decriminalise the sex industry.
Rosie travels New York’s Via Dolorosa (The Way of Tears) that trafficked girls and women in New York often find themselves taking. Reverend Adrian Dannhauser is the guide on this alternative journey.
"If we legalise the industry we will go back to the days of the '70s when you had lines of African-American women lined up in Times Square like slaves on an auction block."
Rosie joins the pilgrims at the bus station and at JFK airport, the gateway into the US for so many women trafficked from abroad. We take in the notorious motel where men pimp the women they control. And finally a human trafficking intervention court, which recognises that those arrested on prostitution charges are likely to be victims of sex trafficking, violence and trauma.
Producer: Rosie Dawson
(Photo: Rosie Dawson)
Jewish and returning to Germany
Eighty years ago, just days before the outbreak of the Second World War, a young woman, Kaethe Berliner, fled Nazi Germany. She made a new life in Great Britain and like many others was determined to leave the evils of Nazi Germany firmly behind her.
Naomi Scherbel-Ball is the granddaughter of Kaethe Berliner, and after years of deliberation, she has decided to reopen that door to the past. Naomi will be the first in her family to apply to reclaim German nationality and she is being joined by thousands of descendants of German Jewish refugees doing the same.
Despite the revival of both religious and secular German Judaism, the recent success of the far-right has awakened old fears. Has contemporary Germany changed enough for descendants of Jewish refugees to overcome the tragedy of the past?
Presented and Produced by Naomi Scherbel-Ball.
Picture credit: BBC