Broadcasting across the pond

Greetings from New  York City, where I am to tape the latest series of Shariah TV for the UK’s Channel 4. Shariah TV is a discussion-based program where a group of young Muslims engages with a panel of contemporary scholars.

We filmed from a rooftop in TriBeCa (lower Mahattan). A great view of the Empire State Building was the background for our conversation.

Shariah TV has young people ask scholars some of our most pressing issues. For example: what is a young Muslim to do when work functions involve alcohol? Do we have the right – or even responsibility – to reinterpret sacred texts?

I won’t spoil the show by telling you what the scholars said – or how our conversation went. What I will tell you is that it was vivacious – and the show’s staff did a great job of pulling together a diverse group of participants. The show airs in the UK in mid-July. I’ll do my best to get the footage accessible to you. For now, enjoy the photos I’ve included below.

On a personal note, I really enjoyed meeting my fellow participants and the panel of scholars. The conversations that started even after the tape stopped rolling were some of the most meaningful fellowship I’ve had in a long time. Differing opinions were met with the utmost respect, sincerity and compassion. My heartfelt gratitude goes to those participants I had the blessing of speaking with further. Non-alcoholic cheers to my new brothers and sisters!

Participants pose with one of the imams who sat on the panel of scholars (he is the man in the white shirt). I’m on the far right. Check out the great backdrop we had!

A network executive briefs participants before taping

The New York City skyline sets the scene for our conversations

Participants with Shariah TV host Tazeen Ahmad



3 thoughts on “Broadcasting across the pond

  1. I was gladdened to hear that one of the interviewees noticed that our immigration laws are ridiculous (because of governmental changes in 2000), he said he was a proud American Muslim, however he could not work out why people were concerned about being British. This is easy to answer as he answered it for himself; a person can only be a proud member of his country, if that country proves to be protective of his inalienable rights and the British people no longer have this. The problem lies with a country that does not know itself any more – this has many factors: the giving away of our sovereignty to Brussels, the idea being that we become a united states of Europe, which is problematic as there is no common culture or language, to make Ireland vote again is tantamount to what Mugabe did in Zimbabwe, to me; no means no. Also, indigenous festivals not being honoured by do-gooding councils e.g St. George’s day because of a perceived fear of a Muslim backlash (with clear evidence on the contrary from the Muslim communities), George was a Syrian, incidentally. Another factor is immigration where the innocent are sent back and the guilty are molly-coddled at the taxpayer’s expense. The British only hear from crazy Muslims, it’s the mad Muslim that gets air time, but also the indigenous peoples have noticed that “multicuturalism” and “racism” goes one way in the public sector and this is what is annoying British people.

    I am not white, I am second generation oriental/Asian but I can see that by not addressing the indigenous people’s concerns people are making radical choices in their politics (e.g. BNP) and that worries me.

  2. Raquel I think that Sharia Tv in New York programme was really excellent. Did you notice how much more at ease the American Muslims seem to be with their nation than Brits seem to be (Muslim or not) with theirs?

    In respect of the observation about ridiculous British immigration laws.. wasn’t Reza Aslan’s point more about immigrant Muslim alienation – similar to Dr Aminah McCloud’s point that isolation breeds alienation – not the Brussels stuff or local council stuff you mention?

    Tazeen Ahmad is feisty, a cross between Paxman and Jerry Springer but rather more beautiful. I did think she was a tad flummoxed by her US guests contentment, and got a bit condescending. Americans comfort with their nation has a childlike quality – its not arrogance – they simply don’t do Brit-like self-deprecation – self-hating nation bashing is a Brit thing.

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