Britain to find its 'Model Mosque' by reality TV show

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London, Oct 6 (UNI) In a one-of-its-kind reality TV show Muslims in Britain are out to find a 'Model Mosque'.

Eight mosques are competing with each other in the unique show to become Britain's Model Mosque 2007 with the knock-out rules of reality TV.

In the series shown on the Islam Channel, Mosques are assessed on their interfaith work, women's facilities, youth services and their transparency on finances, policies and management instead of the aesthetics.

The criteria is used to whittle the candidates down from 500 mosques to eight.

Few of the the finalists hail from Bradford, Birmingham, Cricklewood, Croydon, Glasgow, Haringey, Leyton and Manchester among others.

Producer of the show Abrar Hussain said the show started as a personal quest for Model Mosque. ''I wasn't too keen on my local mosque and my friend's one sounded better, it was doing stuff that mine wasn't and I was a bit jealous. There is so much disparity between mosque standards. The show is a way for mosques to see the positive work that is already being done.

It's not about being horrible and embarrassing bad mosques.

There's no nastiness. Nobody wants to be Simon Cowell,'' he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

The winning mosque will get a 35,000 pounds consultancy prize, which will support funding and training proposals.

Organisers are also keen to use the programme as a way of dispelling fears non-Muslims have about mosques. They dispatched questionnaires to 1,000 mosques and received 450 responses.

Mr Hussain described the 14-month selection process as rigorous.

''We did internet research, looked at press coverage, spoke to regular worshippers, prayed there ourselves - like mystery shopping. We did our homework. We did not find any evidence of this radicalisation that's supposed to be everywhere. The big surprise is how many good mosques are out there. I was also surprised to see how willing people were to help out,'' he said.

Each week a presenter grills two mosque representatives in the studio and viewers text in to keep in their favourite. The mosque with the most votes moves to the next stage.

To be broadcast to a potential audience of billions, there will be a live final next month in front of the 25,000-strong Muslim crowd in London.

UNI

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