Britain’s first interfaith game show is to be launched, pitting Jews against Muslims, Sikhs against Christians and Hindus against Buddhists, with contestants competing for cash prizes. Faith Off, the working title of a series on the Islam Channel, will attempt to promote good relations and mutual respect between Britain’s religious communities. Two teams of four will go head to head in each episode, answering quick-fire and general knowledge questions in the eight-part series hosted by the Muslim comedian Jeff Mirza. There will be a multiple choice current affairs segment in addition to a home or away round, where contestants can answer questions on their own faith or the opposing team’s for further points. Players will also have to identify religious figures, such as the Dalai Lama and the Pope, from blurred footage. The programme is likely to have all the elements of a traditional gameshow – a garish set, flashing lights, puns and loud buzzers – plus the added twist of headscarves, turbans and yarmulkes. Participants in the show, the makers say, will have varying degrees of knowledge. Some of the contestants responded directly to online adverts on Muslim websites, while others were found via the Islam Channel’s networks. The show is not aimed at theologians or scholars, said its producer, Abrar Hussain, who also produced the programme Model Mosque, a national competition to find Britain’s best mosque. Hussain said: “We’re living in a multifaith, multicultural society. I know a bit about Christianity but nothing about Judaism.
There are no nasty judges, booing crowds, tearful auditions or backstabbing. But the competition is just as tough. Eight mosques are vying to become Britain’s Model Mosque 2007 in a televised competition which marries halal principles with the knock-out rules of reality TV. The series, shown tonight on the Islam Channel, is not a beauty pageant, as aesthetics are not important. Instead, mosques are assessed on their interfaith work, women’s facilities, youth services and their transparency on finances, policies and management. Riazat Butt reports.