UK: Make Me a Muslim

WHAT do a gay hairdresser, an atheist taxi driver, a skincare centre manager, a glamour model and a mixed race couple have in common?

They all live in Harrogate and, for three weeks this summer, agreed to discard their normal routines and live as Muslims for a TV documentary series.

Under the watchful eye of a team of Muslim mentors, the diverse group were taught to abide by Sharia law while a camera crew followed them around.

Viewers will be able to follow their fortunes in a three-part series called Make Me a Muslim, which begins on Channel Four at 8pm tomorrow.

Narinder Minhas, the show's executive producer, said: "The idea was to try to find a way of demystifying Islam because a lot of people don't understand the religion at all.

"We wanted to come up with something that might allow ordinary people to experience it, getting people to practise it and see whether they like it or not."

Six non-Muslims and one lapsed Muslim took part in the ambitious exercise, which was filmed in Harrogate in June.

The three-week project also took the group to a retreat in the Peak District, near Sheffield, where the participants could learn more about the religion.

The team of mentors was led by Imam Ajmal Masroor, who believes passionately that Britain is in a state of meltdown, with anti-social behaviour, promiscuity and alcohol corroding the moral fabric of the nation.

In the documentary, he tells the group it is time to start a "spiritual revolution" in the UK to restore its moral backbone.

Mr Minhas said he decided to film in Harrogate because, unlike Bradford and Leeds, it has a smal
l Muslim population.

"The Harrogate area, according to local statistics, has a population of about 150,000 people and 311 are Muslims.

"It's a tiny percentage, but we found that people were hungry to find out more about what the religion is about.

"Some of our team came across people who actually thought Islam was a country.

"What I found interesting was the fact that we had some surprising results.

"You will be gobsmacked to see who got a lot out of the experience and who didn't."

One of the participants, Haylie Winter, 33, found the lifestyle change difficult but rewarding.

Ms Winter, who owns a skincare centre, said: "There were four mentors teaching us the ways of Islam and we had to do a number of things, like not eat any pork, not have any sex, not drink alcohol, and pray five times a day.

"What I found most difficult was praying five times a day," she said.

Source: Yorkshire Post (English)

See also: Make Me a Muslim site


gazywazy said...

As a Muslim i thought it was an ok idea but i didnt think the other guys were cut out to deal with the back lashes and negativity from the 'participants'. But finding a gay guy a wife(not a good idea), first deal with his sexuality.The fat bloke who loves his porn is the typical western thinker that Muslims find today, yet the guy hasnt got a clue what hes arguing about!Find him a wife. The show is a good idea to remove stereotypes about Muslims made by the media.I look forward to watching tomorrows show.

Anonymous said...

This is just more evidence that we live in the Age of Stupidity.

FreeSpeech said...

"It's a tiny percentage, but we found that people were hungry to find out more about what the religion is about."

Take the 5 pillars, discount the rituals and you have zakat.

Check the uses of zakat, discard with those now covered by the state (support for the poor) and you are left with financing jihad-fighters, bribing non-muslim politicians, and paying those who collect the zakat.

No joke.
Check "Reliance of the Traveller" (recommended by al-Azhar)or "Fiqh az Zakat" (written by Al-Qaradawi), both available via your local bookstore.

Fatso said...

I wonder why the TV companies haven't come up with a programme about taking some Muslims and making them live as Christians?

It would be only fair to see just how they cope with the idea that women are equal etc etc etc

Anonymous said...

Imam Ajmal seemed a very intelligent, sensitive guy, the type viewers would warm to.

I think the problem british viewers will have is not with the clerics, who seem like good people, but the basic tenents of the faith itself. Examples of this come with the way islam talks about homosexuals and the rights of women.

For e.g., it has been scientifically proven that gay people do not choose to be gay - they are simply born gay. Subtle biological differences have been shown in the brain. So, when we're confronted by, what I would call, "stoneage views" that do not fit with scientific reality, faith starts to look a bit silly.

I don't want to pick on Islam, this is true of all the abrahamic religions. If Britain really is in a mess, we need less faith and more rational thinking.

muslim said...

quite a few ignorant people Freespeech's comment was exteremely stupid islam is a religion that is 1400 years old check if there was any state funding then. as regards to funding "jihadis" Dont your taxes goto funding soldiers such as the ones in Abu Gharib.
As regards to female equality heres one for ya how come in the female oppressing muslim countries the rape rate is lower then the librel western countries

Esther said...

Hi Muslim,

how come in the female oppressing muslim countries the rape rate is lower then the librel western countries

How do you know that's true? It is quite hard to compare a country where a raped women gets help from her surroundings and a country where she might be murdered by her family. Rape is a crime of shame for the victim, and in an 'honor-shame' culture, it's less likely to be reported. Muslim women in Europe are less likely to complain of rape.

You are also comparing different rape laws. For example, if a husband raped his wife, is that a crime? For the liberal, Western countries, it is.

Anonymous said...

I agree Imam Ajmal was a very interesting intellectual man, especially his discussion about the prophet.

Unfortunately the islamic Lady came across very negatively and authoritarian and did not engage the women in discussion. Why was she talking down to the business woman?

I felt very sad for the homosexual guy, especially as he was coming to terms with his father's death. It was truly moving.

As for the hijab, I long for the day when it and the veil are felt unnecessary to be worn, as I feel they just causes divisions. Modesty can be maintained without hiding the face and hair - that is my opinion.

As for having a mosque in harrogate this is unnecessary and would spoil the architecture of a beautiful town. I truly hate visiting Bradford - as it is so ghettoised due to the unwillingness of muslims to mix with the other community and vice versa.

I hope this will promote debate within the islamic and secular communities. I hope the jihadists and sharia law proponents can be further marginalised.

Anonymous said...

I saw the program today and was a bit confused, can someone tell me what religion they where talking about? I am a practicing Muslim, a trained Imam and PhD student in Islamic studies - therefore know a bit more about Islam than the average person - and I can assure you that the program had nothing to do with the Islam (or at least as we know it). I am appalled by channel 4.

Anonymous said...

Hi Esther!

how come in western claimed developed country like Denmark there 500 sexual harassment daily agenist women?
How come you could not stop it?
How come that sexual touring in Bangkok flourishes by western customers or it is ok since they are Asian sex workers´?

Esther said...

Hi anonymous,

If you want to throw facts around, you better bring some sources. In Denmark there are 500 sexual harassment cases a day?

I do not claim that the west does not have its sexual perverts. I'm saying that data about sexual attacks in Muslim countries cannot be trusted as a reflection of reality since women are much less likely to come and complain about rape.

Anonymous said...

Hi Esther!

Sorry dear I am not throwing number like most researchers

here is it for DR1 national TV in Denmark. I hope you could get the lick and a good fast Internet connection.

Esther said...


This is definitely what it says, but they've got their figures wrong. It's 500 cases a year.

See the original: Ugebrevet A4

8% of women and 3% of men experienced sexual harassment this past year in Denmark.

Any sexual harassment is bad, but compare that to a survey saying that 86% of women in Morocco feel they have been sexually harassed in the street. link

I'm not sure what you're trying to say: if you want to prove that there is sexual abuse and sexual harassment in Denmark, I have no argument with you. If you want to prove that there is more sexual abuse and harassment in the liberal west then elsewhere - you haven't got me convinced.

Anonymous said...

Hi Esther!

I think you should check again your source. It is "Klei-Marokko" and since you are speaking Dutch will you know it is Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels. Anyway I am not trying to convince you honey because you are not here to be convinced. As long you agree there is sexual harassment in Denmark as in Netherlands then that is great.

Wish you Happy New Year since you don't celebrate the birth of the King of the Jews Jesus :-)

Anonymous said...

The show was disappointing . .. it picked fairly obviously stereotypical characters in a few cases and just subjected them to the most publicly known aspects of Islam.

I did feel sorry for Luke though. He seemed to have the most to gain from the experience, but he's the one who is most likely to be rejected and deeply hurt down the track if he carries his personal journey further into Islam. Trying to find him a wife was just pre-historic. I am amazed Muhammed was silly enough to agree to that walk along the street asking pretty girls to get hitched to a gay guy . . .

Anonymous said...

the show was a good idea, but alot of flaws.

firstly, may Allah reward the sister who took part, but on one hand she is talking about modesty and the other is not dressing according to islamic standards alot of the time. i find this happens in most programs on tv with an islamic topic. they never represent the muslim woman as she should be covered, its either not enough covering or the extreme of those sisters who choose to wear niqab.

secondly, why weren't more english convert muslims chosen to be mentors, as they would have a better understanding of the psyche of the volunteers.

thirdly, most gay people dont choose to be gay, the brother who said luke chose this is not well informed on this subject. islam does forbid homosexual/lesbian sexual behavior, but if one is gay but chooses to not act upon his urges he is ok. with true belief and strong will to please God Luke could succeed and God would help him.

fourthly, when the women were saying that they should be able to wear what they want and men should just not look, they would have benefited more from a biology lesson and understanding of how men actually react to the woman's body to understand the wisdom of covering. some small boys get erections from just seeing a pretty woman even though they dont understand sexuality. my friends young boy (3-4yrs old) asked his mother why his willy gets hard when he sees some pretty girls. also, it is a protection against infidelity, who is more a threat to a marriage, the woman who is covered and or the woman who is uncovered?

fifthly, why wasn't the heavy guy told about the worms that live in pork?

sixthly, why didnt they show more of the other family?

at the end of the day, i comment ajmal for his efforts and may Allah accept them.

Anonymous said...

The post by an-english-muslim-woman sums up this programme. It gives a very negative portrayal of Islam, and the people representing Islam cannot even clarify the doubts that the participants have. A very poor effort, and more of a gimmick than a serious attempt to enlighten others about Islam.

Anonymous said...

fifthly, why wasn't the heavy guy told about the worms that live in pork?

well because there are worms even in you and i. your statement is irrelevant. Pork is the leanest healthiest mainstream meat you can get in natural form. If muslims will eat lamb and pork but not meat, then the mistake lies in islam, not in gods nature.

Similarly when they lie about adam and eve as the beginning of man. What a fairy tale of incest that is! the reality is that all major biological break throughs are based on Darwins theory of evolution. i.e something god introduced, not some mystic character from a rather tedious fable.

Also a PHD in islamic studies has argued that when the quran spoke of men with men it refered to rape not a loving relationship, and what is for sure is that the Quran NEVER mentioned a woman being with another woman, if anyone has those lines then show your lies, infact earlier islamic scriptures showed that mohammed was quite excited when one of his concubines indulged in activities with one of his wives of the time.

Similarly the quran never mentions circumcision, or that only men can be prayer leaders. it is a man made religion therefore man made lies apply....

Anonymous said...

correction, meant to say mainstream red meat, would not mean to lie or deliberatly confuse like some religions as this is not part of my religion.