Islamic reality TV

We’ve had plenty of race relations discussion courtesy of Celebrity Big Brother of late and now the BBC wants to give us some time for religious discussion – in a digestible reality TV format, of course.

BBC Two is to air a new three part series ‘The Retreat’, which follows a number of people who have agreed “to give up the trappings of modern life to spend a month at a remote Islamic study centre”.

They include a psychotherapist from London, brought up a Christian, who has been searching for alternative faith; and a devout Muslim who fought for the right to wear a hijab at school and now wants to share her faith with others.

The series is setting out to explore the faith, tradition and culture of classical Islam as it tracks the six volunteers on their journey.

They will take part in daily prayer, reflection and study at the Spanish retreat of Alqueria de Rosales in Andalusia (nice work if you can get it), which caters to many different branches of Islamic faith.

The final week will be a real test of their strength and commitment as the volunteers observe the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and are expected to fast between sunrise and sunset.

According to the BBC their experience “triggers some real insight into deep seated personal issues around their faith or – in some cases – lack of it”.