Make Me A Muslim – BBC Three – Shanna Bukhari meets Alana, Lisa, Inaya to find out why women are choosing this path

by Lisa McGarry

Make Me a Muslim

Shanna Bukhari steps into the spotlight tonight, to investigate why more and more young British women are converting to Islam. The 26 year old former model and beauty queen calls herself a ‘Modern British Muslim’ and wants to find out why so many females are choosing the religion and lifestyle.

She is trying to find out why they are putting parties behind them, choosing not to drink and turning away from dressing as they please, to convert to a religion which some people feel treats women like second class citizens.

The first lady to meet Shanna is a media student and former holiday club rep named Alana, who lives in Glasgow and converted to become a Muslim when she met her fiancé Abdul during a trip to Lanzarote. She also comes across Reading girl Lisa, who with her heavily tattooed body looks far from a traditional muslim but the former self-confessed former wild child is now a settled second wife and mother of three. However her in laws do not approve of her former lifestyle.

Make Me a Muslim 1

Inaya from Lancashire is a devout Muslim looking for love. However, she is in the minority in her rural Northern town and admits that her chances of finding a suitable and religious husband are very slight.

Ayesha from Edinburgh is the convert Shanna feels she can identify most with, having managed to reconcile her faith with a career as a top model.

Unlike the converts, Shanna does not follow her faith and religion to the letter of the law and she makes the most of her western freedoms, within certain limits.

Through this documentary she find out why these women have chosen a strict Islam lifestyle and through learning what it means to them, she’ll have to face what her faith really means to her.

BBC Three on 30 January at 9.00pm to 10.00pm


  1. Vonnie on January 31, 2013 at 1:17 am

    A strong woman to cope with a man having more than 1 wife? Rubbish it takes an idiot.

  2. Sam on January 31, 2013 at 4:24 am

    What an amazing ambassador for a white middle-aged woman,I find the treatment of women disturbing.when I see a woman hiding her face,I feel afraid (unable to see the person beneath) and angry that men are brainwashed to believe they are so weak and have no self control.watching you tonight has shown me a positive side to your religion and that it’s possible to follow your religion without losing your individuality,to have a level of control in your own life and yet still b a good have done more for Islam in Britain than any other,as far as I’m concerned and I thank you for your refreshing are a beautiful person inside and out.don’t ever change.

  3. Brian Davids on January 31, 2013 at 11:04 am

    If you wish to see correct Islam for women, then why doesn’t the BBC take these women to Saudi Arabia, or Yemen, or Pakistan for six months.
    This is nothing but BBC propaganda.

  4. jacqueline on January 31, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I thought the show was very insightfull and thought provoking. The converts have made a massive decision and they have given me a new perspective into their reasoning for their change.
    I went to egypt last year and my feelings were strong that women are somewhat opressed and i still stick by that opinion. I thought it was impressive that Shanna looked deeper into her muslim background and reflected on it posetively.I believe that you can reach compromise with the faith but still be westernized. I do not believe that a woman has to cover up completely but rather ensure that modestly dressed.

  5. Saf Ahmed on January 31, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    If a woman is oppressed or is having problems?
    Doesn’t mean it’s Islam or any religion.
    It’s an individual problem.
    In Europe or any developed country or other religion do you think no one has any problem?
    Most mistakes are made when they do traditional things rather than Islamic.

  6. Sam on February 1, 2013 at 1:21 am

    BE ref yr comments.No one could ever accuse BBC of being impartial and this doc was not neutral however,perhaps u missed the point? This was about the personal journeys of a few individuals and how they CHOSE to live their lives. IT demonstrated the ability of modern women to be muslim and yet free to choose how they lived in our society. Christianity has come a long way but still has work to do before women are treated as fully fledged humans,we are in no position to feel superior in this regard. Muslims have a long way to go,but surely programmes like this can only help both the oppressed women and the ignorant (incl me) to evolve?

  7. Sam on February 1, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Six,not BE, VS (Brian)

  8. Crosscop on February 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

    It bothers me that nobody ever asks Muslims any awkward questions about their beliefs. I would like to know how these women can believe that their prophet Mohammad was the “Perfect Man” when (according to the Koran and Hadith) he murdered people in cold blood, had sex with a nine year old girl, kept(and raped) slaves and authorised his followers to rape female captives. This attitude, of course, has led to the Europe wide grooming/rape epidemic. The Koran also authorises the beating of women who step out of line and Sharia Law allows what we call “honour killings.”
    It’s high time somebody in the media had the guts to take off the kid gloves. These women have sleep-walked into Islam.

  9. Will on February 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Equal rights and rights for women is a hot topic in Saudi Arabia at the moment. Thankfully things are moving forward as the ‘leadership’ pretty much know there’s no way of carrying on regardless without wholesale reforms of their laws.

    As always, these things take time. As for Pakistan and the other countries mentioned, there are so many problems that need to be sorted first, it will take a while for such reforms to embed themselves into the everyday culture of these nations. It’s a shame, but hardly something you can single out these women for.

  10. Stacey on February 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Oh dear, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are awful representations of Islam, one is a millionaire playground where money makes the world go round and the other is a hotbed of extremists who choose to manipulate the words of the holy Quran. I am married to a Muslim and live my life in a Muslim way – I do not feel oppressed, I am simply choosing a modest lifestyle. I do not impose this on others, just ask that they respect it. Islam is a personal journey which I felt this programme really emphasised. It was sensitive and unbiased and I felt I could relate to each woman on a personal level and understand their worries and also their joy. It empowered me to feel ready to convert (I find this is a big responsibility and have felt I would not be able to handle the negativity I would face).

    I loved the comment Alana made that women find it harder to put on more clothes than take them off! How true!

  11. Crosscop on February 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Stacey – How do you get round the fact that the “prophet” Mohammad murdered in cold blood hundreds of defenceless Prisoners of War (Banu Qurayza)who had surrendered to him? How do you get round the fact that he had Asma bint Marwan murdered in her bed? The man kept and dealt in slaves. He even swapped two of his for one really good-looking one that one of his men had.He also authorised his men to rape captured women.This is all recorded in Islam’s own scriptures. You need to do a bit of research. Islam’s Perfect Man wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t even a nice man. You do realise that your husband is not only allowed to beat you if you step out of line – but that he ( and his parents)are allowed under Shariah Law to kill your children?
    Think about it and don’t just accept the fluffy version that they present to prospective converts.

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