pick of the week

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Justin Burke

Com­pass: Why I’m Still ... Sun­day, 6.30pm, ABC1

You can imag­ine what it took to get three groups of peo­ple — rep­re­sent­ing the Mus­lim, Jewish and Catholic com­mu­ni­ties — around a din­ner ta­ble to talk openly and hon­estly about their faith. It must be said, a tele­vi­sion show about re­li­gious and spir­i­tual mat­ters does not stay on the air for 25 years with­out at­tempt­ing to keep up with the zeit­geist. In this three-part se­ries of Com­pass, Geral­dine Doogue, who has hosted it for the past 15 years, brings sub­stan­tial qual­i­ties of em­pa­thy, lik­a­bil­ity and a will­ing­ness to pose tough ques­tions to her guests. Tonight’s show is ti­tled Why I’m Still . . . Mus­lim and asks why be­liev­ers stay com­mit­ted to the Is­lamic faith de­spite the chal­lenges of the post-9/11 world. Top­ics dis­cussed in­clude the wear­ing of the hi­jab, the rights of women, ex­trem­ism and Aus­tralian iden­tity. Each din­ner was recorded across three hours and edited to a tight 30 min­utes. But does the dis­cus­sion ar­rive at any res­o­lu­tions? ‘‘ Dessert was di­vine,’’ says one par­tic­i­pant, with­out irony and to unan­i­mous agree­ment. Per­haps gas­tron­omy is closer to god­li­ness than you may imag­ine. Next week, Jewish guests get stuck into a lively dis­cus­sion, while the fol­low­ing week the Catholic con­tin­gent is a touch more sub­dued.

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