The Life of Muhammad exposed our own ignorance

Jul 18,2011

You’ve got to hand it to Rageh Omaar for being brave enough to make this programme – when Peter Andre films one of his latest documentaries about taking his kids to school or doing a poo he probably doesn’t have to worry about a life-size effigy of himself being burnt on the other side of the world.

Although, when it comes down to it, The Life of Muhammad isn’t actually as contentious or Muslim-worrying as you might think, despite its subject being something of a Western taboo.

Himself a Sunni Muslim, Rageh Omaar traces the life of the prophet Muhammad as though it were a recipe for a soufflé, making no judgements, casting no aspersions, stirring no controversy and causing nothing to hit the proverbial fan.

In its chronological matter-of-factness, The Life of Muhammad is a worthwhile venture though simply for its education value.

Most of us probably know far too little about Muhammad and the religion of Islam as a whole, and this documentary is something all of us (particularly columnists at a recently defunct Sunday tabloid) could learn a lot from.

As Muhammad is not allowed to be depicted, you can expect a lot of lingering shots of the sun setting on arid landscapes here, and perhaps Omaar should have pursued the less visual medium of a book for this exploration. But hopefully with its prime-time TV slot The Life of Muhammad will reach many people who would otherwise not have chosen to learn about the world’s second largest religion.

It will be interesting to see whether Omaar tackles Islam’s turbulent reputation and misunderstandings of it in next week’s third and final instalment.


(Christopher Hooton/From with editorial amendments)



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