Made by a Bafta Award-winning team, this new series, premiering on Thursday 2 March at 10.00pm on Channel 4, provides an eye-opening view of British Muslim life, through privileged access to Birmingham Central Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the UK and Western Europe, and the lives of the community it serves.
As Donald Trump fights to ban some Muslims from entering America, this series – filmed over a year in a city where a baby boy is more likely to be called Mohammed than any other name – looks beyond the headlines to find out what it’s like to be a Muslim in Britain right now. This first episode follows young women and young men as they endeavour to find spouses with help from the mosque’s marriage bureau service, their families and Muslim dating sites.
Thirty-year-old Nayera and 24-year-old Bella are caught between their 21st-century lives and the expectations of an older generation, and are struggling to find the right partner. Bella is going through the mosque to find a husband, but admits that she’s sometimes envious of romantic dates, first crushes and kisses. Nayera struggles to find common ground on a meet-up arranged through a Muslim marriage website. The man’s requirements – a wife who will look after him, cook him dinner and prioritise his kids – meet robust opposition from her. The women aren’t alone. Ash, who’s 28, is resisting his mother’s attempts to arrange a marriage with someone in Pakistan: ‘I said “no mum, we’re from different parts, from different worlds”.’
With more marriages breaking down than ever, according to the mosque, the programme also explores how women can seek a divorce through the mosque’s sharia council. An Islamic court that deals exclusively with divorce applications, it’s the only one in the country with a female judge on the panel.
Series Producer: Fozia Khan
Series Director: Paddy Wivell
Executive Producer: Zac Beattie
Production Company: The Garden Productions
Extremely British Muslims: All the Single Muslims Episode 1 (of 3) airs on Thursday 2 March 2017 from 10.00pm-11.05pm on Channel 4,