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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

Rageh Omaar to present The Life Of Muhammad for BBC Two

Rageh Omaar

The BBC today announces The Life Of Muhammad, a three-part series presented by Rageh Omaar for BBC Two.

In a first for British television, from the director/producer of the acclaimed Seven Wonders Of The Muslim World, Faris Kermani (Crescent Films), The Life Of Muhammad (3x60) charts the extraordinary story of a man who, in little more than 20 years, changed the world forever.

In a journey that is both literal and historical, Rageh Omaar travels to the place of Muhammad's birth to re-trace the actual footsteps of the Prophet; from humble beginnings in Mecca, to his struggles with accepting his Prophetic role, his flight to Medina, to the founding of the first Islamic constitution, and his subsequent military and political successes and failures – through to his death and his legacy.

Filmed on location in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, Turkey, Syria, the USA, the UK and Jordan the series also draws on the expertise and comment from some of the world's leading academics and commentators on Islam, including, amongst others: Tariq Ramadan (academic and fellow of St Anthony's College, Oxford), Ziauddin Sardar (writer and broadcaster), Tom Holland (historian and author), HRH Princess Badiya El Hassan of the Jordanian Royal Family, Amira K Bennison (Senior Lecturer in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Cambridge University), Sajjad Rizvi (Associate Professor of Islamic Intellectual History, Exeter University), Bishop Nazir-Ali (Author of Islam: A Christian Perspective) and John L Esposito (Professor of Religion and International Affairs and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University).

Raising questions about Islam's role in the world today and exploring where Islam's attitudes towards money, charity, women, social equality, religious tolerance, war and conflict originate, the series offers a fascinating, timely and truly unique insight into the Islamic faith.

Rageh Omaar says: "I am extremely pleased to be presenting this exciting and groundbreaking series about this extraordinary man, Muhammad – the Prophet of Islam. The details of Muhammad's life really are little known, and I hope that my series will – for many – shine a light on the very beginning of Islam, taking viewers to the heart of this faith, illustrating just how Muhammad's life and legacy is as important today as it was a over a thousand years ago."

Aaqil Ahmed, Commissioning Editor Religion and Head of Religion & Ethics, says: "I am very pleased to be able to bring Rageh Omaar's The Life Of Muhammad to BBC Two. This is a very timely landmark series filmed in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, Syria, Turkey, the USA, the UK and Jordan. It features comment from some of the world's leading academics and commentators on Islam – a subject that many people may know little about. For some people in the UK, Muhammad is just a name, and I hope this series will go some way to explaining who he was, how he lived, what his prophetic message was, and how all of this compares to his legacy today."

The Life Of Muhammad will transmit on BBC Two in mid-July 2011 and is a presenter-led documentary series that follows in the footsteps of Muhammad. In line with Islamic tradition it does not depict any images of the face of Muhammad, or feature any dramatic reconstructions of Muhammad's life.

The series is a Crescent Films production for BBC Two, and was commissioned and executive produced for the BBC by Aaqil Ahmed.

The executive producer for Crescent Films is David Batty, and the producer/director is Faris Kermani.

Notes to Editors

Rageh Omaar
Rageh Omaar is a Somali-born acclaimed journalist and author. A former BBC World Affairs correspondent, he is currently employed as a journalist/reporter for Al Jazeera English, where he is the Middle Eastern correspondent, and also hosts his own monthly investigative documentaries called The Rageh Omaar Report.

Faris Kermani
Faris Kermani is a prominent and acclaimed UK-based British-Pakistani film director, and owner of Crescent Films. His work includes Seven Wonders Of The Muslim World, Karbala: City Of Martyrs and Karachi Kops (all for Channel 4). The Life Of Muhammad is his first landmark series for the BBC.

David Batty
David Batty has produced/directed many religion documentaries, from The Cult Of The Suicide Bomber, to Christianity: A History (both Channel 4), and The Story Of Jesus (BBC One).

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