Former chaplain Richard Gamble wants to build a national prayer landmark, akin to other UK landmarks such as the Angel of the North or Stonehenge. Many of these represent key moments in history such as military victories or to show off art and culture, but Richard wants to build one for prayer, representing a million answered prayers. He’s managed to raise just over £47,000 and is now launching a competition for the best design for the monument, which he wants to build next to a motorway.
The Muslim community has come to the end of its holy month of Ramadan.
As well as a month of fasting the festival also has a big focus on charitable giving, known as Zakat.
But Islam isn't the only faith that puts charity at the centre of its beliefs.
Research commissioned by the BBC in 2014 found that people who have a religious belief are more likely to give to charity than non-believers.
Sikhs and Jews emerged as the most likely to share their wealth with a good cause, just ahead of Christians, Hindus and Muslims.
The study, carried out for the BBC's network of local radio stations found that levels of generosity across the British public are strikingly high, but highest among those with a religious faith.
As many as seven in 10 people in England said they had given money to a charity in the past month. But while just over two thirds of those who professed no religious faith claimed to have done so, among believers the figure rose to almost eight out of 10.
Among those polled, all of the Sikhs and 82 per cent of practising Jews had given money in the past month. Among practising Christians the figure was 78 per cent.
So what is it about religion that makes people so charitable?
Well as one example, in the Jewish faith there is a rule that people should give 10 per cent to charity, known as Tzedakah.
Marc Shoffman spoke to Rabbi Yoni Birnbaum of the Hadley Wood Jewish community to find out more.
How does religion fit in the EU Referendum? Lord William Wallace, from Christians for Europe, and Adrian Hilton, Co-chair of Christians for Britain, join Marc Shoffman to discuss what role faith should play throughout the campaign. How big a factor should Christianity play when people come to vote?
Marc Shoffman focuses on the ongoing issue of tax avoidance after it was revealed that the Church of England is investing in Google. The 2015 annual report from the Church Commissioners, which is the investment arm of the Church of England, revealed Alphabet Inc, parent company of the search engine, was among its top 20 holdings. Edward Mason, Head of Responsible Investment for the Church Commissioners, Toby Quantrill, Principal Adviser for Economic Justice at Christian Aid, and Mark Harper, Adviser for Trinity Wealth Management, join Marc to discuss this issue.
Marc Shoffman discusses the month of Ramadan with Financial Journalist, Amina Zafar, who explains what challenges Muslims face when fasting. Tufail Hussain, Islamic Relief Deputy Director and Head of Fundraising, looks at the campaign behind the charity’s bus adverts and explains how Muslims work out their Zakat. He also talks about Islamic Relief’s projects and how they are monitored.
Marc Shoffman speaks to Carrie Pemberton Ford, Director of Research for Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking, and Rabbi Lea Mühlstein of Jewish Social Justice campagn group, Tzelem. The guests discuss what each of their groups aim to raise awareness of human trafficking and ways in which it can be tackled.
This week Marc discusses what are different religious communities looking for in a new mayor? In recent weeks’ candidates such as the Tory's Zac Goldsmith and Labour's Sadiq Khan, and others, have all been grilled on what they will do for the capital. Their actions and policies can also feed into the rest of the country in terms of wealth and prosperity created. But religious communities also have a stake in the vote and have their own concerns that they have been raising during the campaign period. Marc is joined by Danny Webster from the Evangelical Alliance, Justin Cohen from the Jewish News and Fiyaz Mughal from Faith Matters to discuss the religious angle in the campaign.
A recent campaign, The Wall of Answered Prayer, was launched at the beginning of April to raise £45,000 to build a Christian symbol equivalent to the Angel of the North. Campaign founder Richard Gamble says this will be a national prayer landmark representing a million answered prayers. He tells Marc Shoffman how he came up with the idea, the course of the campaign so far and how the money will be used.
From Libya to Daesh, and the debate over the future of Trident, there always seems to be money for war. But are there better ways to spend it? Marc Shoffman speaks to Andrew Smith, from the Campaign Against Arms Trade, looks at whether action against military spending is necessary, while Shuaghan Dolan, from Conscience, explores how the government could deal with global issues such as Isis. Reverend Mark Woods, contributing editor of Christian Today, also explains whether you are pacifist if you are religious.
According to a recent research by the Pew Research Center being an atheist remains one of the biggest liabilities that a presidential candidate can have. Half of American adults say they would be less likely to vote for a hypothetical presidential candidate who does not believe in God. So how big an issue is religion when it comes to choosing a Presidential candidate? Marc Shoffman is joined in the studio by Christian author Steven Sylvester, Chartered Psychologist and Author of DETOX YOUR EGO, and Ben Ryan, from Christian think tank Theos, over the phone.
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