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BBC to show film on Muhammad's life

The BBC is to trace the journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad for a new series which is claimed to be a first for British television.

Al Jazeera reporter Rageh Omaar will present the three-part programme for BBC2, following in the prophet's footsteps from Mecca and along the journeys he took during his life.

To ensure the programmes are in line with Islamic tradition, they will not depict the face of Muhammad or feature dramatic reconstructions of his life.

The Life Of Muhammad is to be screened next month and will follow events such as his migration to Medina and the founding of the first Islamic constitution, through to his death. It will also examine his legacy and the impact of the faith he established.

The trio of hour-long films have been made by Faris Kermani, the director and producer of Channel 4 series Seven Wonders Of The Muslim World.

The BBC's commissioning editor for religion and ethics, Aaqil Ahmed, said: "For some people in the UK, Muhammad is just a name, and I hope this series will go some way to explaining who he was, how he lived, what his prophetic message was, and how all of this compares to his legacy today.

"This is a very timely landmark series filmed in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, Syria, Turkey, the USA, the UK and Jordan. It features comment from some of the world's leading academics and commentators on Islam - a subject that many people may know little about."

The BBC said the programmes would raise questions about Islam's role in the world today and explore "where Islam's attitudes towards money, charity, women, social equality, religious tolerance, war and conflict originate".

Omaar is a former world affairs correspondent for BBC news who joined Al Jazeera's English service in 2006.

He said: "The details of Muhammad's life really are little known, and I hope that my series will - for many - shine a light on the very beginning of Islam, taking viewers to the heart of this faith, illustrating just how Muhammad's life and legacy is as important today as it was over 1,000 years ago."