Ten British Muslims with contrasting world views move in together. They begin to explore how their faith impacts their lives.
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This programme contains some strong language.
On the surface, Britain's 2.7 million Muslims are united in faith.
But behind closed doors in Muslim homes across the country...
Damson jam and cream. Lovely.
..there's a struggle to define what makes a good Muslim.
Muslims judge each other too much.
We kind of hold each other to these impossible standards,
and it's not fair and it's not kind.
I want the foundations of Islam laid out
so that Muslims will be happy to say,
"I am a fundamentalist Muslim."
This religion is betrayed by the whole world, and especially
by Muslims, because they are not applying it properly.
Now ten Muslims from across Britain
will live under one roof for ten days...
I've never heard so much emphasis on Heaven and Hell.
Don't tell me what I can talk about, go start with someone else.
Can we ten people come together and understand each other?
..to work out who embodies the spirit of Islam...
We have huge amounts of racism and anti-blackness
-in our communities, yes or no?
We're so intellectually dishonest, we really struggle with looking
at our own flaws and working on them.
..what being a Muslim really means...
When I say "Allahu Akbar",
those are the best minutes of my life.
..and how that fits with modern Britain.
Muslims need to integrate more for their own sake,
and that's an Islamic teaching.
You must be where you are. Fully.
-I'm a Muslim, in case you didn't know.
-I'm part of the EDL...
-Oh, really? Give me a hug, then.
I get why he was in Belmarsh.
The city of York,
founded by Romans,
raided by Vikings, and rebuilt by William the Conqueror.
Today, it's home to about 200,000 mainly white Britons,
a population that's about to increase by ten.
Shia and Sunni,
Arab and Asian...
..African and European.
We need in this time to rediscover how to be human beings,
because we're losing it.
..have come together from across Britain to spend the next ten days
living in one house,
to work out what being part of the Muslim community really means.
I'm scared that I'm going to walk in
and Mr Sharia Law
is going to see the hair and the heels, and attack.
First to arrive is 27-year-old Mehreen,
a schoolteacher from north London.
Do you want your teabag in?
Yes, please. You know my style.
Growing up, I wasn't the most attractive child.
I had a very, very big mono-brow
and a moustache...
and a beard.
In year 10,
I was allowed to remove my moustache and get my eyebrows done.
And I actually looked pretty.
A lot of Muslim people have a really warped view.
They think that I'm the Muslim girl gone bad.
But my religion is a very, very, very important part to me.
I pray every single day.
I'm your average, normal British Muslim person.
They're in the majority, but our voice is the least heard.
OK. And wait.
What I am a little bit nervous about, so to speak,
is the free mixing, obviously between males and females.
Muhammad said that the best place
for the woman is at the back row
and the best place for the man is at the front row.
Abdul Haq is a former professional boxer.
Born Anthony Small and brought up in a Christian household,
he converted to Islam 11 years ago.
When it's lost, it means hellfire.
He makes videos promoting his version of the faith
and posts them online.
Allah can command women to cover. No apologies.
We must take heed of the separation between males and females,
so I've got the evidence with me in paper form
to give to the ten members of the house.
It's nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you, too.
-What's your name, sorry?
Abdul Haq. I'm Mehreen.
-Nice to meet you, Mehreen. How are you?
-Like a submarine.
I think I'll give you this to read,
while you're sat there waiting, shall I?
Ah, thank you.
-Thank you very much.
-No problems. Alhamdulillah.
Abdul Haq's evidence is a series of quotes
he's taken from the Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.
He's interpreted these to mean that unrelated men and women
should not mix.
Do you have any other handouts?
-I have upstairs, just generally, but not at the moment...
-So the free-mixing one, you thought was the most important?
Obviously there's other issues that could arise, but from my
point of view, the free mixing was something that affects all of us...
-..so I decided to address it first of all...
And do you hand these out at work?
-I'm self-employed, so...
-I just work for...
-What do you do?
-I'm an entrepreneur.
I mean, sometimes people who are religious can be quite zealous.
Their way is the only way and is the right way,
and if you're not a part of that, you're the wrong way.
In fact, that's one of the very reasons I don't like to go
into the religion, because it's too black and white,
and life is full of many shades.
Obviously after establishing the evidence,
guidance comes from Allah...
-Nice to meet you.
-You too. What's your name?
-Naila, good to meet you.
-Yeah, you too.
-You smell lovely.
Wa-alaikum-salaam. How are you doing?
-I won't shake hands, but I'll give you that leaflet.
-Abdul Haq. Naila.
Abdul Haq also believes
he should avoid making eye contact with women.
I'll sit somewhere more comfortable, I think.
-Yeah, I didn't really like the stools.
-Have you read that?
-Nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you, too.
-I'm Mehreen, like a submarine.
I'm coming out of a
sort of a stage in my life where I'm looking to settle down,
have a family and I'm thinking,
I wonder if there's a place for me in Islam.
Sorry, can I... Not to be rude,
I've given it to everyone so far,
so I thought I'd give it to you just to be polite.
I hope it's nothing rude.
How are you doing? Are you OK? I've just got this leaflet here.
I am so old, I am old enough to be his mother.
When the world is falling apart and people are being killed
and fleeing for their lives, this is so pathetic.
As the other Muslims arrive...
-Would you like a chair?
..and start to mix freely,
Abdul Haq separates himself from the group.
-What's your name?
-Where is this name from?
-What do you think?
-I think Syria.
-My name is Humaira.
-Evidence against free mixing. That's why I'm sat over there.
It's all well and good praying five times a day and fasting,
but it's also important to make sure that your neighbours love you,
to make sure that you put a smile on people's faces.
We are the only religion on Earth that believes that
a smile is an act of charity.
31-year-old British Nigerian Nabil lives in Croydon and is
a stand-up comedian.
It is a tough time to be English.
Obviously, we just got booted out of the Euros by Iceland,
voted out of Europe by people who shop at Iceland.
Recently, I have also started an organisation providing support
and shelter for vulnerable homeless men.
They're actually part of the same principle that I live my life by.
If you see something that's wrong, you should change it with your hands
and if you can't change it with your hands you should speak about it,
and if you can do neither then feel the anger in your heart.
These are Hadith from the Prophet Muhammad. As-salaam-alaikum.
You guys have been great. As-salaam-alaikum.
The group has been together for less than an hour...
Where does it say in the Koran that mixing is not allowed?
-Let me explain.
-It's a simple question. Does it exist, or not?
We are talking about ABC Islam here.
..and already they are queueing up to challenge Abdul Haq.
I'll be honest, I have never seen anything like it.
I've had someone who doesn't want to shake your hand.
I've never had something where you are physically separating yourself,
and you think that is a more appropriate distance
than perhaps here or there.
Nobody has assigned you in the group
to decide what the way of God is.
I have established the evidence.
For me, I am free in front of Allah.
Why did you choose to be here? Why did you choose to be here...
-Let me finish.
-..with five other women,
then bring us this and say we can't mix, we can't do this and that?
To me, that's questionable.
I am in two minds, right, because he says no free mixing.
As far as I'm concerned,
-as long as you're in this house, you're still free mixing.
However, we are taught, let there be a group
from among you who go out
and preach the haq.
Now, if that's his expression of truth,
then don't criticise him and tell him he's disrespecting you.
You are disrespecting him. He didn't pull you to sit down with him.
He sat down over there. So compromise. He is still talking.
Abdul Haq, what would be comfortable for you in the house?
-How do you see it working?
-There are two tables here.
So why don't the sisters on that side, the brothers on this side?
I don't want to do that. No way. I'm not going to do that.
I think it is highly arrogant of you to want things just what
-makes you happy.
-You asked my opinion, I've given you my reply.
If you're all free mixing in here, I'll go out in the garden.
Can I just hug you? Because everybody's being really hard.
I am tough skinned.
I think he's just a bit lost. All the quotations...
Because, practically, what are we supposed to do?
Am I supposed to cook and send him food and he eats somewhere else?
I'm not doing that. There has to be some level of integration.
Between me and you,
this isn't even like a boy-man thing but they have a point.
You knew there was going to be girls here.
This is my first point...
Before anything else,
decisions need to be made about where everyone will be sleeping.
It would be nice if brothers could be on one floor
and sisters on another floor.
-I think that's a great idea...
-She agrees with me.
If it's possible with the way the house is set up.
-That would be great.
-We are not hardcore.
I have got your bag. Put my mind at rest.
We need to hurry so we can choose.
-She is adamant she wants this room here.
-It is so cool.
I think what she'd really like is to share a room with you.
I have no time for religion, I need a way of life.
To be a Muslim means simply to take on certain practices which
give your life a kind of support.
It is like tomatoes on a trellis.
Instead of flopping around on the ground, you're held up.
-I call it the skeleton.
-You don't want to share a room with me?
No, no, no. It's just that the sisters are quite...
-They are fine, and we can have very interesting conversations.
It is not a shell, Muslims turn it into a shell,
which is just...they become like a tortoise.
Ideally, there would have been complete separate floors.
It's funny how that happens to converts in particular.
Yes, because they become overzealous.
I am down to collect people and then everyone can...
Yes, I just want to do as I am going to do. Two minutes.
Ferhan is sharing with Mani.
He is practising the azan,
the call to announce each of the five daily prayers.
-Was it OK?
-No, it was great.
-It's quite emotional, actually.
-Let's have that as our azan.
-You are perfect for it.
-I've never done it before.
You are so good at it. You must have done that growing up?
No, I haven't, not the azan part.
You did it really well and you memorised it.
-You've memorised it so well. Well done.
I think there's going to be lots of hugs here.
I'm a very huggable person.
-Absolutely. I think that is great.
Are we allowed to? Are you sure?
Mani is 32 and lives with his mum in Manchester.
He recently got married in Pakistan.
My mum, my nana and my sister got together and thought,
"We'll sort him out." I got a phone call,
"You're getting married, by the way." "OK, really?
"Boy or a girl?"
I could get a lot of style tips off you.
'She is a cousin of mine so even if the marriage doesn't work,
'you'll still related, right?'
You can still tag each other on Facebook.
His wife is waiting to receive her visa
before she can join him in England.
Is a difficult having a wife but not having her around?
The time I'm spending now talking to her over the phone, I think
your husband-and-wife relation should be a friendship anyway.
So, for that reason, I think it's worked out better.
-Shall I do it from here?
-From this floor here.
Where everyone else can hear it.
I feel a bit special now because
I'm going to obviously speak to him and I'm ready.
-Are you going to join the prayer?
Because I don't pray traditionally like that.
Guys, Mani is going to do our azan.
I write letters to God at night where I share what I want to share.
I've got my own ways. I think there is space for everyone to find that.
-Kaaba is this way, right?
-The Kaaba is that way, I believe.
This way, wasn't it?
First, they need to work out the correct direction for prayer.
-I think it was this way.
-So, I'll do it...
Towards the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site in the city of Mecca.
Mine's nicer. I'm joking.
What does being a Muslim mean to you?
To be a Muslim is someone who submits to God.
We believe in one God,
we worship one God
and, by extension, we fear one God.
Praying together...in my school, when we pray together,
for me, it gives you a really, really magical feeling.
I can't explain it, but it's a moment of peace.
As I've got older, I feel like you need that time to get away
from the world and the stresses,
so, for me, now, it's more a form of meditation more than anything else.
Right, I am joining.
Having a connection with God, I feel spiritual when I do it and
sometimes, I feel like moved emotionally by it.
The word Muslim in Arabic comes from salam, Islam,
peace, love and compassion.
That's the way I see it and this is the way I think
I should live my life.
-This was not a hi-tech attack, but the brutality
and the banality of the method make it all the more terrifying.
The previous night,
a man drove a truck through a crowd of people in Nice killing 86.
So-called Islamic State said it was a response to their call to action.
I am angry with the people that did it.
I'm angry with people that told them it was a good idea
but I am also angry with the people who will now victimise me for it,
angry with the people who think I need to explain those
people's actions, just angry all the way through.
-The vehicle accelerated right into the middle of the crowd.
We are the face of terrorism for the world at large.
But we also see what they're doing in the West,
how they are treating countries and what they've done in the past
and that is not sexy to talk about.
'The police surrounded the car and he kept shooting him...'
It's the same cycle that happens again and again and again.
'Bodies were falling like skittles...'
Something is done in the name of Islam, Muslims are blamed,
there are reprisals attacks.
These reprisal attacks and Islamophobia in general is not
dealt with by our law enforcement and by government.
'Another saw parents throwing their children over fences...'
That catalyses radicalisation because people feel like they
aren't being heard, and when people feel like they're not being heard,
that leads to more violence.
So I am heartbroken...
..because they are human beings.
It doesn't matter what religion they are,
they are just human beings going about their business.
They're children. And we care about them.
We care about them.
And I think that the world at large does not see that.
They go, we're Muslims so we're cut off, and they tarnish everybody
with the same brush and they decide
that we're all bad, that we're heartless.
We're all affected by this.
I felt the pain for the Muslims who have been killed,
-that's what I felt.
-But why must we separate?
You don't think that Muslims lives are worth crying more tears, do you,
than non-Muslims? You just think they don't get enough recognition.
-Which we agree too.
-Of course, every life is sacred, but as a Muslim...
-Just stop there!
-Let him answer.
Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him,
said that Islam is superior and will never be surpassed.
Our communities are disgusting in many ways,
we have a huge amount of racism
-and anti-blackness in our communities. Yes or no?
We have huge issues with domestic violence
-and sexism in our communities, yes or no?
-I'm not aware of it.
So on what most basis are we best nation at the moment?
Exactly, we are still the best nation because we believe in Allah.
That's not enough me. I think there is more to it.
I simply cannot say, because I believe in a God,
that I am morally superior because of that.
-I'm not waiting for the hellfire,
I want to live a decent life here and now.
Allah said he created us to worship him,
-not to just live a fun life.
-You deserve to eat too.
-I'm going to come...
-I'll give you a quote,
"For every human deserves to eat."
-Why do you think people are responding to you in this way?
People have their own opinions about what Islam is.
So, when they hear something contrary to this,
it's like, "You're telling me that what my father told me,
"what my grandfather told me
"and my mosque teacher told me is not true?"
Does anyone know whether vinegar is?
If people leave the room because I'm speaking from the divine text
and it doesn't sit with their own desires, then I am happy.
-I have got one.
As the Hadith goes, don't harm yourself and don't harm others.
I've put it in the fridge.
Abdul Haq, a real cutie.
He's one of those Muslims, it seems like, who are quite
bogged down by the literal meaning of words and quotations.
Do you think you are not even allowed to try it?
Allah says, do they not know I will question him about everything?
He comes, says a statement,
quotes a verse or a Hadith and thinks it is right.
Islam has got nothing against culture,
as long as the culture doesn't disagree with Islam.
Scholarship is very poisonous and very dangerous medicine,
because it can give you the illusion of knowledge.
The great quality of the Muslim should be humility.
He was sitting by himself, I didn't want him to be lonely.
Earlier, he was about four metres away,
now you're a little bit closer, so...
It's the exact same difference, brother.
Did you bring your ruler to check?
How many metres does it become free mixing?
The aspect of segregation is something that should be distinct.
-Saying that, he smiles at me when he looks at me.
I wonder if he is married. I didn't ask. I should ask that.
-You look so good.
Mehreen has received a religious leaflet.
-Who gave you that?
Abdul Haq has given me a leaflet on how to wear the jilbaab correctly,
and it says it's based on clear-cut evidences
and not open to interpretation.
The jilbaab is a floor-length gown that loosely covers
the whole body.
-A Muslim woman should cover her hair.
She should dress modestly, not showing all of her ornaments,
the shape of her body,
the best way to say is obviously the shape of her body.
Tear it up and fling it in the bin.
-Round one, fight.
-Abdul Haq. You give me space to talk.
Why are you sitting here drinking your water and not helping us
in the kitchen? It is serving the people is a higher level.
This is not representing Islam.
I am older than you, you should listen to me.
-I'm leaving this conversation.
-You don't work, you sit and dictate.
-What you're doing is not Islam.
-You sit and dictate.
You are giving people the impression that's all right.
Your actions are very rude and abrupt and I'm going to leave.
You're talking about yourself when you say that.
You're talking about yourself.
To come in and insult us by doing this at us when you're only...
You were in diapers when I said Shahadah, probably.
He hadn't even become a Muslim probably.
It gets too much, and he's done that ever since he got here.
Why doesn't he, instead of doing all that, go in the sink and clean up,
clean up all this mess here which he was party to create?
It gives a bad impression of Islam,
the very impression that is so prevalent, that this is what men do.
They go, "Vrh-vrh-vrh!"
and the women have to wear this black hideous thing
and that's the Sunnah.
I'd much prefer if he was just a complete arsehole
and someone who was making me angry and making me want to fight,
but because throughout the first day
I probably dealt with him the calmest and the nicest,
and I was the most forgiving -
I gave you water, I gave you your food
and I make sure I lowered my gaze while I handed you your food,
and then that whole time, you've been sitting there thinking,
"I've got to give her this leaflet, I've got to give her this leaflet."
That's made me feel let down.
I was really going out of my way to care for him.
Is it more important to look like a Muslim or feel like a Muslim?
My mother is the most pious person I have ever come across.
She doesn't wear a hijab.
-And they think that's who a Muslim woman is.
Not stylish women, like us.
No, Muslim women aren't allowed to be stylish.
At 16 you had to cover your legs.
We wore a pyjama-legging-type thing.
You can't drink, you can't go out with boys -
and if you went out with a boy, that would make you a prostitute.
I wear it predominantly as an act of worship.
Your hijab is about haya -
remembering about modesty, in Islam, is for both men and women.
What that looks like now is very different
to what would have been in 7th-century Arabia.
All of the Muslims have come to the house
to show how they bring Islam into their daily lives.
For one of them,
this means overcoming one of the biggest cultural taboos of all.
Growing up, I didn't particularly desire any relationship with a girl.
What I desired was a relationship
with, you know, a nice boy.
Ferhan is from Glasgow, and now lives in London.
I'm here with my bears.
We have a group called Bearminton.
Mostly it attracts guys that are bears, which is...
they have beards, they're big and hairy, and they like to have fun.
My dad had mentioned that he wasn't fond of gay people at all.
My mum struggled to understand what that meant for the future.
My mum and dad do want to see me married,
but it's hard to explain that that might not happen
in the traditional way.
He's decided to tell the group he's gay...
while they're having breakfast.
I am scared about people's opinions,
and what they'll say.
This is something you can't change.
It's in your fitra.
Abdul, come and take a seat.
I just have an announcement to make.
It's something that, er, you may or may not have already picked up on.
It's something I've sort of struggled with,
and it's part of the reason I kind of felt ostracised from my culture,
but now I'm realising I didn't have to feel
ostracised by my faith, necessarily.
And it feels quite, erm,
difficult to kind of share it with you right now,
but you might already know,
you might already have picked up on it.
I mean, does anyone want to hazard a guess
as to what I might be talking about?
Yeah. No, I am gay. Today, my friends are coming over.
-They're a couple, a gay couple.
And I'm just looking forward to you meeting them all,
and I hope you'd make them feel welcome.
Can I just ask you, when you say you're gay,
do you believe that, Islamically, you're allowed to be gay?
-Well, so, that's the thing, so...
..culturally, I've been ostracised for being gay,
but now that I'm coming back into my faith,
it's because I've realised
that actually being gay and being Muslim
are not mutually exclusive things.
From my point of view, that takes you out the whole of Islam,
cos that is so against the divine texts.
-This is how God designed me.
-This is so clear...
It's written in my fitra, which is my nature.
-Yeah, fair enough.
-I've established the evidence,
I've got nothing more to say.
I'm not arguing. You... Lakum deenukum waliya deen -
to you is your religion and to me is my religion.
Yeah, he... I haven't seen him that angry.
No-one has a right to tell you that you're not a Muslim,
because you're calling yourself a Muslim,
and if they think you're doing something haram,
I'm showing my hair, I'm sure THAT'S haram.
I've been to a club, I'm sure THAT'S haram.
So, am I not a Muslim either?
-Are you... Are you OK?
-Can I speak to you? Come on.
I said, "Do you believe you are allowed, Islamically, to be gay?"
and he said yes.
What's Allah going to say to him on the Day of Judgment?
Obviously we've always known.
We've never discussed it, but it was kind of...
No. I'll tell you why I didn't know. The reason I didn't know
was because the first conversation I had with him
was that he was looking for a wife.
You laugh! That's the...
I mean, that's the first conversation he had with me,
is that he was looking for a wife.
He told me he was looking for a wife, brother.
What do you want me to do?
He said, "I'm looking for a wife," innit?
He might be the most outspoken,
but Abdul Haq is not the only one in the group
struggling to accept Ferhan's claim that it's OK to be gay and Muslim.
Is being homosexual something biological, natural, genetic?
I should question it first.
'Obviously I don't have a problem with Ferhan at all,
'but, when asked, "Is it allowed in Islam to be gay?" '
I wouldn't want him to say it is allowed in Islam YET,
until we can make 100% proof of science -
if it was a scientific, biological thing or not.
I remember Ferhan told us that he was raised with his mother
and three sisters, which is a female environment -
I can't say that it's 100% psychological,
but this could be one of the reasons - and it was proven.
I don't think that it's something
that we shouldn't be taking in consideration.
Male homosexuality is much more of an issue than female one, actually.
Female homosexuality is...
They can't actually do it, physically, you know?
Men, the penetrating capacity is with the man,
and I feel that's why it's more of an issue.
-So good to see you!
In my view, the procreative fluid is flowing
towards the wrong organs, you know?
Where Saba and Baraa take issue with Abdul Haq
is how he makes his argument.
They way you're revealing your thoughts is very harmful for Islam.
Stop, stop - by saying that homosexuality is not allowed
in Islam, I'm harming Islam?!
-Are you a qualified alim?
-It doesn't take a qualified alim...
-..to say that homosexuality isn't allowed.
It takes a qualified alim to say that homosexuality isn't allowed?
-No, it takes...
-Do you think homosexuality is allowed in Islam?
No. Do you think it's allowed in Islam?
But that isn't the question.
What you do in private, whether it's drinking...
And he's come out in public...
So, you're just going to go whack, like that?
You mentioned about private, but he's come out in public...
-It's not the Islamic way.
-I tell you what happens in life -
when people can't attack the message, they attack the messenger.
The same thing happened to all the prophets.
You are still guilty...
-Hello, Ferhan, how are you?
-Give me a hug, my friend.
-I'm not really comfortable
being around a homosexual.
That's probably just my Afro-Caribbean background.
So, how do you guys all know Ferhan? Like, how did you guys all meet?
-We played rugby together.
-Played rugby for a gay team in London.
-Gay inclusive, that's what...
Because they're not only gay people, a gay man playing,
-but also straight men. Like, a few.
-Yeah, a few.
-It wasn't really an issue for me. You live and let live, no?
But what do I know? I'm not a scholar or anything. That's just...
When in doubt, don't be a dick.
That's what I go to every single time.
-Let's have a toast to our friendship...
Thank you for having us.
Yeah, thank you for being so hospitable. Thanks.
-Thanks very much.
A lot of people probably would have already guessed anyway,
but to actually formally kind of say it,
it's quite a big step.
It's not one that someone from my culture often does make.
I think it's really, really important to be visible,
otherwise you reach the state of denial
that sort of exists within my culture.
If you leave that unchecked,
it can just lead to some really, really dark situations, I think.
I think that the Muslim community drowns in shame.
So, when I was growing up, I saw a lot of hypocrisy around me,
a lot of two-faced behaviours,
by the very people who were, you know, preaching Islam.
There isn't the conversations to allow people to open up
and to live normal, healthy lives.
They put on fronts.
I think that that's the consequence
of that kind of repressed way of living.
-I mean, marriage is one of the most visual aspects
of that, I think, and that's why
being gay seems like it's an attack on faith, but it's not.
Naila, are you a good Muslim?
Hah! I don't know what a good Muslim is.
I don't really think about whether I'm a good Muslim or not.
I'm a...a normal Muslim. I have my days.
There have been moments where I've struggled with my faith,
and I've questioned.
According to how a good Muslim is defined,
I would very much fall in the bad Muslim category.
If you think there should be a greater emphasis on your inside...
..Is kind and considerate of all people...
..I think I'm doing a pretty decent job.
..I fall into a good human being.
The role of the Muslims living amongst non-Muslims
is one of spreading the message - the one of da'wah,
calling and inviting people to embrace al-Islam.
Abdul Haq has decided to perform da'wah - preaching Islam -
on the streets of York,
and wants the rest of the house to help.
That would be really fun - I like a dawat.
Oh, da'wah? Oh, I don't know...
-Dawat is when you throw a big dinner, I love those.
-No, no, no.
-Oh, it's different! Oh, right.
-I got excited.
It's invitation towards the Islamic side of things, if that makes sense.
-He's going to give us some lectures and Hadith, so...
OK, that'll be good. That'll give us some context.
I find it incumbent upon myself to call people to embrace Islam
to save themselves from the hellfire,
to accept God as the Creator, the one who gives life and takes.
Here's the leaflets - a general call to al-Islam,
which is Why Should I Bother Embracing Islam?
Obviously the problems in society
and the Islamic solution to those problems.
What Sharia Law Is, that word that people are scared of,
and the final one, What Is The Islamic State?
-Well, I'm out.
-So, I won't be coming. I'll just tell you that.
-No problem, that's fine.
-I'm trying to separate these leaflets
into things I think have inaccuracies
-and things I think are just wrong.
-So, I won't be coming with you.
I won't be coming with you.
There is so much humanity in Islam which, I'm sorry to say,
is not coming through you.
For that reason, I'm out.
-MIMICS AL PACINO:
-The people like you
need people like me,
so you can point your fingers and say, "That's the bad guy."
What film's that from?
The lessons we're taking from that film
is the man came to live the American Dream,
but what was his end? Did he find happiness?
In that same scene I mentioned, what's he saying?
He said, "Is this what it is?"
I didn't make the sahabas just sahabas just for the sake of it.
'And how many people are like that?
'Cos they reached the point in their life,
'like Scarface, Al Pacino,'
"Is this it? What else is there?"
As a Muslim, we know this is not it.
-MIMICS AL PACINO:
-OK, you want to play rough?
You want to go to war? I'll take you to war, man.
Say hello to my little friend!
Yeah, if we just turn right, and then left...
# You say you want a revolution
# Well, you know
# We all want to change the world... #
What's the worst that can happen?
Oi, don't answer that!
Learn about Islam today, don't delay.
Save yourself from the hellfire.
Learn about Islam. We invite you to al-Islam.
Learn about Islam, we invite you to Islam.
There you go, take it. Have a nice day, yeah?
# ..But when you talk about destruction... #
I looked at just what's on the outside of the flyers.
They all seem to have that whole "under an Islamic State",
and because I am not comfortable with the ideology,
I think I might have to leave.
Embrace Islam today, don't delay. Save yourself from... You sure?
As a Muslim, I reject human rights.
-Human rights are letting you hand out that.
Why don't you go in and ask them,
"Can I have a halal vibrator, please?"
So, we look to the sharia and an Islamic State...
-Do you know what a bear is?
-You are one, my friend!
I hate to break it to you. You're a bear!
The one who commits fornication, they get the death sentence, also.
Homosexuality is an abomination.
I was born gay.
-I love hugs.
-I can tell you do!
-It's the best form of saying something without saying it.
Islam is the prevention for that.
Learn about Islam, we invite you to Islam.
The call to Islam is here.
Is it OK, in your religion,
for me to maybe wear my top up here, like this?
Maybe like that?
Learn about Islam, we invite you to Islam.
Is that OK?
If I walked around the streets like that?
I will not look you in the eye.
I feel you're treating me less than a man.
I have looked at you, in fact, but not too much.
Oh, it's good to see some positivity.
It's just about the way, man.
Learn about Islam, we invite you to Islam.
You sure? No probs. Have a nice day, anyway.
-I think all of those leaflets were talking rubbish.
They were factually incorrect, and they were rubbish.
I can't even smile about it. They were just rubbish.
We invite you to Islam, the call to Islam is here.
Learn about Islam today.
-I would not trust the sources of Abdul's information
in the slightest.
At best, it's coming from people who are incredibly misinformed...
Learn about Islam, we invite you to Islam.
..and at worst, it's coming from people who have, you know,
very malicious intentions and are violent people.
Learn about Islam, we invite you to Islam.
No probs, have a nice day.
If you imagine you are Abdul, and you have this ideology,
and this ideology is saving you, it will save your life.
There's a challenge to that
that means that actually maybe you have a doubt about that -
you lose a lot, psychologically,
and so I don't know what's underneath that,
I'm not going to claim to know him at all,
but I can see why he's holding on to it really, really strongly.
Tell us about where you grew up.
What was it like when you were growing up?
Growing up, I had something called little man syndrome -
especially with the name Anthony Small!
I went to secondary school in the same area
where Stephen Lawrence was murdered.
We were being chased after school by members of the National Front.
It must've been Nabil tying this one up, innit?!
'A close friend of mine presented a book to me
'called An Illustrated Guide To al-Islam.'
When I embraced Islam, it felt like I had the ultimate purpose to life.
-You think today was good?
-Yeah, masha'Allah. Very good day.
-How did you feel about it?
-It was good.
'Muhammad said, "The peak of our religion
' "is to love and hate for the sake of God." '
I know of an individual who was killed in Pakistan.
Another individual who was killed in Syria
by an American drone.
It brought happiness to my heart,
because, Islamically, the one who's killed for his belief system
is considered a martyr.
Abdul Haq's views have brought him to the attention
of the British security services.
In 2014, the Home Office confiscated his passport.
He obtained a false one.
Why did you forge your passport?
Because it was incumbent upon me to leave the country.
-For personal reasons. Someone in my...
One of my family members was in a really bad situation.
The police didn't believe him.
He was accused of trying to join so-called Islamic State in Syria.
I spent nine months inside of Belmarsh on remand.
I stood trial at the Old Bailey,
and I was found not guilty, and I left from the Old Bailey...
through the front door.
In a black cab.
Would you go to Syria today if you had your passport?
I would go to Syria.
I have no leaflets, I have no evidence, but I guarantee you
a good time.
Naila has planned a night out.
For light relief, to have a laugh, we are going to karaoke tonight.
Oh, my God! So good.
Are you going to come?
It's not necessarily my thing but I'm not against it either.
Are you scared to have fun with us?
You're a married man and you're going to look like you're
having too much fun.
-For me, it's not...
I wouldn't want my wife out with guys
that aren't from our family doing that.
And I wouldn't do that either.
So, tonight, guys, we're going out to do karaoke.
Thank you so much, really. Just in time. You're a star, man.
Muhammad said that music is the handiwork of the Shay'taan,
and just to go out
for the sake of entertainment and dancing obviously
is not something that I would agree with at all.
-You are more than welcome.
-Cheers. No problems.
I'm of the opinion that music is forbidden,
at least the type of music that you would get in a pub.
But I think it's important for me to go so that people realise
that I'm a human and I'm not always a representative of my religion.
Don't laugh at me but my favourite kind of music is country music.
I like Bob Dylan, you know, the sort of protest singers like that.
I'm surprised that Nabil's not coming because I know Nabil
very much does listen to music.
I'm familiar with Metallica.
Tell me about your favourite Metallica songs,
or your favourite songs generally?
They're not my favourites any more because music is haram.
Favourite country singer is Dolly Parton. She is my role model.
I think she's a fantastic example of "don't judge a book by its cover".
I can imagine Mani doing a bit of I Will Survive.
Or It's Raining Men.
Tonight, I think with Naila, for example,
I'd love to just sit down and have a cocktail.
That would be a great thing to do.
But I'm a bit apprehensive about talking too openly about drinking,
simply because my mother really disapproves of alcohol...
She's never touched a drop in her life
and she's be very disappointed to know that I've tried it.
Very much so.
# What they're going to say
# Let the storm rage on... #
# Do you know what you started?
# I just came here to party
# And now we're rockin' on the dance floor, acting naughty
# Your hands around my waist
# Just let the music play
# We're hand in hand, chest to chest and now we're face-to-face... #
I was very restricted by the religion.
"Don't do this, don't do that. This means this, this means that."
I felt the Muslim god, as I was exposed to,
was a very punishing god.
There was a lot to be guilty and ashamed of.
# Weren't you the one who tried to break me with desire?
# Did you think I'd crumble?
# Did you think I'd lay down and die? #
That's not exclusive to Islam.
Wherever you've got religion,
you've got mass control and you find a way to humiliate people.
# I will survive
# I will survive... #
You condition them enough and they will humiliate themselves
in the privacy of their minds.
# You're beautiful
# You're beautiful
# You're beautiful, it's true. #
It was so much fun. It was exactly what we needed, in fact.
I think it was such a nice release from all the tension
of the last couple of days.
# You're beautiful
# You're beautiful, it's true. #
My religion doesn't say,
"Don't smile or you will burn in the hellfire."
Even Abdul Haq has a laugh when girls aren't around.
I'm Baraa. Nice to meet you, mate.
While the others head home, Syrian-born student Baraa
has stopped to chat to one of the locals.
-What's all this about?
-This is a TV show about Muslims in the UK.
-I'm a Muslim, in case you didn't know.
-I'm part of the EDL.
-I run with the EDL.
-Give me a hug, then.
-Give me a hug.
-Come on, give me a hug.
-English Defence League.
I know EDL, man.
You've never marched with them, so you don't know.
You are the very first EDL person I've met in person.
I'm really, really interested.
Tell me any misconception, any wrong information.
I'm not prepared to disclose nothing about the EDL.
Just tell me anything you have about anything you think might be wrong
or anything you'd like to know from me.
-I'm really interested.
-Isis, formed by Muslims.
-OK, fair play...
You talk about World War III, World War III's already started.
I'll tell you something,
I'm a person and I'm a Muslim, I lived all my life in Syria.
Believe me, I promise you, I can do anything to make you
believe that I hate Isis as much as you do.
I know EDL and I've heard a lot about them and their activities but
I want you to know I'm on your side. I'm not coming here to spread Islam.
I'm not coming here to take people's jobs or scare them or take
the British colony, take over. I'm not here to do anything.
I came here to do my Masters, I came here to enjoy my time and
to meet interesting people like you who can understand
and give me a chance to speak.
Some people don't even want to give me a chance to speak.
They're just, "Fuck off, you're fucking Muslim."
No, that's not the case, man.
I'm your brother. Look, we are the same, aren't we?
We are the same, right?
-Leave it be. Goodnight.
-Goodnight, mate. Enjoy your time.
'I think he represents the mentality
'that doesn't really accept foreigners,
'doesn't really accept people from different cultures.'
I think it was thought-provoking for him.
That's why he waved his hand and he said goodbye,
otherwise he would have just turned his back and left.
But he was kind of thinking or processing things or... Yeah.
Elated at his first encounter with the EDL,
Baraa has returned home to share the story.
Guess who I just spoken to now when we were coming back home.
Somebody you gave da'wah to earlier today.
No, somebody who I gave da'wah to in another way.
But guess from which views he holds.
-Was he a Muslim?
-Left wing, right wing...
-Yes, the second one. EDL.
-So you just bumped into an EDL guy?
-He asked me a couple of questions.
I told him it's about Islam and then he smiled and said, "I'm EDL."
I said, "Oh, really? Come give me a hug."
It was the very first EDL person I've seen in person, live.
Have you spoken to EDL before?
Yeah, but my interaction with the EDL are different from you
and I don't think I would stand and smile or laugh with anybody
that belongs to the party that's responsible for the amount of
attacks on Muslims and mosques that the EDL are responsible for.
I wouldn't hug or shake hands with an EDL member.
-Do you want to include them all in one label?
-Are you mad?
-Do you actually know what the EDL is?
-I know the EDL...
It's not a few of them have racist views and most of them are good.
The party is founded on the principle of Islamophobic
and xenophobic views.
These guys are bigots and you shouldn't be
proud that you just hugged
an EDL guy who told you he was from the EDL.
-I was excited, not proud.
-Why would you be excited to hug an EDL member?
You could have challenged him on his views.
You could have done something there but instead you wanted to be
-No, no, no, I swear not.
Can I just cut in? Sorry to be rude, but this is the result of
when you go around trying to make Islam pleasing to everyone.
You don't know how to stand against those who are enemies to Islam.
You just treat everyone the same.
You could have asked him, "OK, you're in the EDL.
"You're a fascist party. You attack and you harass innocent people.
"If you keep attacking young Muslims,
"if you keep harassing young Muslims
"and desecrating mosques, people will get angry and want revenge."
That's why we have the problem that we have.
These guys are part of the cycle of radicalisation.
But he came to this party because he is misled, he's misinformed,
he's an idiot. I made him provoke his thoughts.
How? By telling him that you hate Isis and hugging him.
OK, I was wrong. Thank you for correcting me.
I'll try my best to be better.
You're welcome. You want to high five me and hug me too,
or is that reserved for fascists?
I'm not liberate enough to hug you and high five you.
Every time my wife is out, if she's even ten minutes late and her
phone doesn't ring, I start to get scared.
So many stories don't make it to the news.
One of my relatives got punched in the face after Lee Rigby.
Someone tried to attack my wife in front of me.
It was the Irish before and now it's us.
-You might be wondering why we're up early in the morning.
So, a lot of you might know what I do for a living.
I co-founded a non-profit organisation,
and through this organisation we give support and shelter to
vulnerable homeless people.
We will be going to a soup kitchen and we will be cooking for
over 100 homeless people.
I don't care what religious views you have. We do God's work first.
When I say God's work, not literally creating or anything like that.
Let's first just do the good, Inshallah.
-We welcome it.
For the first time, everyone's putting their differences aside
and joining in together.
To me that is what a good Muslim is.
Nobody can be perfect,
but what you can be is a person that tries their best in every
single situation to be the best person they can be to others.
And that's Islam in a nutshell for me.
Whatever else they may disagree on,
all Muslims understand the importance of charity.
Nabil has brought the group to a soup kitchen
at the back of a church in Leeds.
Abdul Haq was showing me photos of his family.
He was just washing up in the sink next to me and I said, "I'm coming,"
and he didn't move.
Would your life have been a lot better if you lived in
a society where alcohol wasn't allowed?
I think it would be a lot healthier.
So Smirnoff, Tennant's, Strongbow have agreed to pay tax
to the government. The government is saying,
"If I'm getting money out of this,
"no matter what it does to society, then let it be."
-That is the straight bigger picture there.
It's a bizarre sight, seeing them all around the table bonding.
-You wouldn't ever think you'd see a sight like that.
God is going to say, "I will save you from the hellfire."
Do you see the importance of being a Muslim?
I would rather we just let them find out that all the people that did
this for us were Muslims.
That is more, I think, than "Hey, convert now! Have some soup."
You know what I mean?
Thank you, God, for the food that you have given us and thank you,
God, for bringing these great people to our doors and providing us
-with this beautiful curry.
-It's been a pleasure.
-Are you doing seconds or no?
-I think we can.
Food is gorgeous.
I think the best da'wah is that which touches your heart naturally.
Just a reminder, you know,
we complain when our food isn't nice enough.
Enjoy your meal.
But these people don't have anywhere to eat but here.
And what makes it worse is that they are the lucky ones, you know?
-I ate it all.
-Did you go for seconds?
I haven't started yet, so you take this,
I'll get more for myself.
What are you doing today?
One of my friends, so the guy over there, he has the charity
where he goes and helps people in trouble, homeless people, etc.
So he asked us all to come along today to help him cook.
It's the influx of economic migrants coming to our country, yeah?
Taking our places. Why am I on the streets?
I shouldn't be on the streets.
Do you think you're on the streets because of immigrants?
Partly because of myself but also due to lack of housing spaces.
I've seen the face of Leeds change completely.
-What do you mean?
-Like, Polish shops all over.
A lot of Asians in Leeds that do help.
OK, so we don't have a problem with the Asians?
Asians have got a problem with themselves.
Because a lot of people now, right,
look at young Asian lads as groomers and rapists and stuff like that.
When you're done we need help at the back here. We're just cleaning.
I don't want to stop the conversation.
It was nice to meet you. I'm Asian but I'm definitely not a groomer.
If it wasn't for immigrants I wouldn't be here today
and if I wasn't here today,
you wouldn't have a glass of milk to make you feel better.
So that makes me a little bit sad, but nonetheless, I've got to go
and help in the back. It was lovely to meet both of you.
We didn't mean any offence. We were just speaking openly.
-I'll see you later.
It was a surprisingly good day.
I think it's the first day no-one's objected and everybody got involved.
It is a big part of our faith, charity and whatnot.
Really, what kind of an arsehole would you have to be to not
want to feed the homeless, you know?
I think this has been really positive for my faith.
Because I'm in the middle and I constantly have to give
that third radical-moderate opinion,
I think that's kind of ignited the intellectual passion that I had.
I went away from being religious nearly 30 years ago.
I'm surprised that 30 years down the line the younger generation
has still got lots of hang-ups, and then it's got more extreme,
so it's like, oh, it's even worse.
I've been very surprised at the degrees of how people
understand the religion of Islam.
I'm not sure the majority of people in this house would say,
"I am a practising Muslim."
You speak to them, "I'm on my own road, I'm on my own journey."
They don't want to hear what Allah has got to say and what
the Prophet has got to say.
I've got such a soft spot for Abdul Haq.
You can tell a nasty man from a mile away
and Abdul Haq is not a nasty man. He's a messed-up man.
I just can't accept he's a monster and turn away from him.
-Next time, talk turns to identity...
-I come from a Shia background.
If someone says, "I'm a Shia," they are kuffar.
-Five-star, grade A kuffar.
-What does that mean?
-That means they're going to go to the hellfire.
British values for me, colonialism, institutional racism,
theft and genocide.
-For God's sake, listen to me.
You told me not to mention my experiences.
-The race thing.
-The race thing.
The majority of racist abuse I've ever taken in my life
has been from other Muslims.
Put ten British Muslims with contrasting world views in a house together and press record. What emerges is a passionate debate, honest disagreements, humour and moments of insight that reveal what is like to be a Muslim in Britain today.
On the surface, Britain's 2.7 million Muslims are united in faith. But behind closed doors, in Muslim homes across the country, there is ongoing discussion about what and who best represents Islam. Labels like Sunni, Shi'a, liberal, conservative and moderate don't do it justice. Will the real British Muslim please stand up?
She or he is faced with competing and contradictory voices. Some suggest an orthodox version of the faith is entirely at home in Britain. Others demand compromises to be made by Muslims in order to integrate. This unique and bold social experiment witnesses these dilemmas played out for real.
In episode one, the ten British Muslims who represent the diversity of their faith move into their new home. As they meet each other and settle in, they begin to explore how their faith impacts their lives, from sleeping arrangements, cooking, and prayer to dress and culture. Topical, important and, at times, charged exchanges shine a light on what it means to be a Muslim in modern Britain.