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tv   Our World  BBC News  July 15, 2017 8:30pm-9:01pm BST

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in it and the doughnut with holes in it and the holes are getting larger and smaller and bits of it are getting thinner orfatter, and and bits of it are getting thinner or fatter, and you wonder how on earth you can study that but by applying these methods from the theory of dynamics, she was able to prove some really quite astonishing results and make connections with other parts of mathematics very unexpectedly and in almost beautiful ways. i know you saw an early copy of maryam's ph.d. thesis? did you know it was something extraordinary? idid indeed. know it was something extraordinary? i did indeed. it really astonished me. she took something which i actually knew very well and what she did with it was quite, quite remarkable. so, it was again the idea that rather than studying the geometry on a single surface which is something many people had been doing, she said, let's consider the same questions but all services at
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the same time and you might think thatis the same time and you might think that is a much harder question but somehow out of that, she managed to produce really remarkable results, some of which have significance, meaning in mathematical physics, what is called string theory and quantum gravity, so it was a real tour de force, absolutely. and she's a real pioneerfor women. women are studying maths at increasing levels but why are they not breaking through to that next step?” but why are they not breaking through to that next step? i think we are beginning to break through andi we are beginning to break through and i think her achievement, it was very symbolic of the new heights to which mathematicians are going. if you are out there listening and you are studying mathematics or you have are studying mathematics or you have a daughter who might be inclined to study mathematics, well, i think the world is your oyster, go for it. on that very uplifting note, we will
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leave it. thank you for your time. lots more on our website. now let's get the weather. a lot of cloud around for many of us today. missy and marty in places, more persistent rain for the northwest england and wales. to the north of the front across northern ireland and scotland, some clear spells and it would look cool and fresher. there researchers across north west of scotland where it will be windy with the deals and exposed spots. things will put up a little bit on sunday afternoon. it will feel very humid indeed. that warmth
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he will continue across southern areas, particularly for the start of the week. a lot of dry weather, some sunshine around as well. that from for now. —— that's all from me for now. hello. this is bbc news with kasia madera. the headlines: tony blair says some eu leaders have told him they would change rules freedom of movement of people to let britain stay in the single market after brexit. the government is considering making it harder to buy acid after a string of attacks in london. mps are calling for a clampdown after a sharp rise in incidents. a 15—year—old girl has died in devon after taking a drug formerly known as a legal high. the teenager was found unconscious in a park in newton abbot in the early hours. and turkey's president erdogan is rallying hundreds of thousands of supporters in istanbul to celebrate one year since a coup against him failed. now on bbc news, it's our world.
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in the netherlands and across europe, thousands of iranian refugees are turning to christianity, tired of the lack of freedom in the islamic republic, they say conversion offers a new start. and it is a much—needed boost to dutch church congregations. every week, two traditional churches are closing in this country. but converting to christianity can carry a heavy penalty. and some say the refugees are onlyjoining the church so they won't be sent back. i lied to them. most iranians regard this to be the best way, it's notjust me. the difficulty is that we can't look into people's minds and hearts. i'm fariba sahraei.
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i've been reporting on refugees‘ stories for many years. and now i'm in the netherlands to find out why so many iranians are converting to christianity. are they born—again or simply praying for asylum ? church bells toll. it's a sunday morning, near dawn in the central netherlands. and preparations are underway for a special ceremony. arif, an iranian student in his 20s is getting ready to be baptised. converting to christianity can be punished by death in iran and he's scared to show his face on camera, in case it causes problems for his family back home. arif came to the netherlands a year ago and left islam after meeting
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christians in europe. the christians i met were really nice and at the beginning i wondered how these people could be so good. i wanted to know more about their opinions and what they actually thought. and when i read about it, i realised that i knew nothing about christianity because where we grew up, everything was closed, you couldn't get information. the fact that everything in christianity is based on compassion and love is extraordinary. this was the first thing i saw in people here. some here have asked us not to show theirfaces. the baptism will be performed by the dutch pastor of this church, gijs. in baptism, that is the moment that is he's no longer a secret believer but now he is coming out and he is professing his faith and that he wants to be
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a follower ofjesus. singing. arif has come here with dutch friends from his church, singing. arif has come here with dutch friends from his church, which is a huge part of his life here. although arif has found a surrogate family in the church, his own parents back in iran have
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cut him off financially since his conversion. i grew up in a religious family. it's really hard for them to accept other beliefs. since i've changed my beliefs, they've become aggressive towards me. all my attempts to make peace with them have been futile. arif is just one of three iranians being baptised here today. how often do you baptise people? an average of 25 per year. gijs tells me many of the people here come from the local refugee centre just on the road. for iranians wanting to stay here, conversion to christianity can be the basis of a successful asylum claim. converts argue that their new faith would expose them to persecution if they were sent home. gijs tells me not everyone who asks for baptism is entirely genuine.
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if someone is entering the church and on the same day, the first day, he is asking me, "when can i be baptised?", then i know enough. i know that he has a case and that he is searching for baptism and then i explain to them that it will not help him. the certificate will not help because our government is not mad. they can easily come to know if you are a real believer or not and i'm also not willing to help you with such a thing because we are a church, we are followers ofjesus christ. we try to please him and we're not some group who is helping refugees to get asylum here. arif seemed to be very genuine.
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he'd spent about a year preparing to be baptised but i've heard of many cases of iranian refugees who have been baptised in a very short time after converting. there are no exact numbers for how many iranians have been baptised across europe in recent years. many of them come to christianity through cyrus church, one of the largest persian churches in europe, famous for sharing their activities online. their leader, masoud, has baptised literally thousands of iranian converts from the streets
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of paris to turkey. he tells me he himself got baptised on his first day in the netherlands, over 17 years ago. soon after converting, masoud set up his church here. masoud often lets refugees stay with him while they are waiting to hear about their asylum claims and he introduces me to a man, we will call him said, who admits he only converted as he thought it would help his case. i became a christian to live in the netherlands. it was the best possible option. there was no other way, when i came here. most iranians regard this to be the best way, it's notjust me. i lied to them in some cases, so of course i couldn't convince them that i've converted to christianity with my heart and soul. said was turned down for asylum and is now trying to appeal.
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it's easy to imagine why immigrants like him would risk lying to the authorities. christianity can be the gateway to a new life in europe. i'm on my way to meet ali, a young iranian living with a dutch family, who met him in church and are now helping him get settled into dutch society. he has been granted asylum in the netherlands and is living with christians joke and her husband ronald. we saw on television, like i think everyone did, the big wave of refugees coming in 2015 and then it was the end of 2015, the start of 2016 that he contacted us as a church. they said, "we want to know more about christianity, we want to be baptised."
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more about christianity, they come to us and say, "can you help me talk to the doctor, talk to the lawyer?", we try to help them with the documents and translator of them where we can. although ali may be far from home, he gets to enjoy a little iranian companionship in bible studies held at his house every week, where they sing christian hymns in farsi. all these men came to the netherlands as refugees. most of them have been turned down for asylum. we are hiding their identities for their safety, in case they are sent back to iran. one of them, sohrab, not his real name, explains why he left. the force and the oppression
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were constant. they tormented us for everything, the way we dressed, our hair style, or because we ate during ramadan. i've been in the netherlands for 16 months, before that i was in thejungle in calais, for almost four months. i wanted to go to england. i arrived here after a dangerous journey. it was by god's grace that i did not die, for many people did die. i eventually got here but my case was not accepted. they did not believe i was christian. i don't know why. sohrab says he had converted to christianity years ago in iran but he is still covering the basics in bible studies. and he didn't seem to know simple facts about jesus' life. we know that in this country,
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the number of christians is now less than it used to be. in fact, we are a minority now, i believe. and now we see that people from other countries are coming and they are newly into the new religion. they have a lot of questions. that's also good for the church because now christians, who are christians for many years have to think about what do i believe, why do i believe it, can i explain it to a new believer? so it is also good for them. it's hard to know what to think but these guys are saying they are really into christianity and they converted to christianity facing so many threats in iran, but they're not able to answer basic questions. in 2015, there were just
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over 16,000 applications for asylum in the netherlands, just under 2,000 of them were from iranians. i've come to where the dutch immigration authority, the ind, interview asylum seekers to find out how they work out who are the genuine believers. i think we have interviews with asylum seekers who claim that they have converted to christianity, basically everyday. and i think more than one every day. it started a couple of years ago, maybe 2010, and that this time, and it had been situations in the country of origin, the places people come from. it may possibly be churches have become more active in evangelising people and it might be that smugglers have been telling them stories about how to get asylum in the netherlands and in europe. isn't it hard for you to say
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someone is really genuine? the difficulty is that we can't look into people's minds and hearts. initially, basically a lot of questions were focused on practical knowledge, like biblical knowledge. we have shifted now to questions that are focused more on the process that people have gone through and their personal experiences. we don't only look at, for example, certificates of baptism. biblical knowledge can be studied but when you ask someone a question about their personal thoughts and experiences and their motivations, yes, i think you get the better idea of how genuine and their motivations, yes, i think you get a better idea of how genuine the conversion is.
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the ind do not keep statistics for why people are granted asylum, but of the 1,885 iranians who applied for asylum in 2015, only 340 cases were granted. i have come to see sohrab from the bible study group again. he is staying at a refugee centre while he waits to hear the outcome of his appeal. the reasons they rejected my claim. they did not believe me. that's their opinion, but there is no window into a person's heart, so you can open it and see inside. the document set out in detail the ways in which the immigration officials found his story to be inconsistent. the immigration service said he also did not have the depth of knowledge
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and understanding of christianity that they would expect. i explained to them that i spoke normally, the way i spoke in my neighbourhood. i'm just a normal guy with a high school diploma. it's their fault that they didn't understand me. when i found out that i had been rejected, you may not believe me, but i thanked god, because finally i had a decision. if there was freedom in iran and everyone could have their own ideas and follow their own religion, then i would have gone back. my mother is there and she is the most precious thing to me. she asks for me to return but it is just not possible. sohrab is still waiting to hear about the outcome of his appeal. conversion doesn'tjust change the lives of the iranians. in parts of the netherlands, it is also transforming the church itself. i've been invited to gijs' church for the sunday service. it's not like anything i have seen before. singing.
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the hymns are sung in farsi and dutch. and all the preaching is translated too. it is more chaotic. you know that dutch churches, if it starts at 10am, it starts exactly at 10am, maybe one minute later, but not two minutes later, it starts. but now this is impossible. some people may think these changes, they may change the church's character. yes. what do you think about that? yes, it is changing. that was our wish because the church is dying in europe and in
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the netherlands too. every week, two traditional churches are closing in this country. every week. you see. that is because of the identity, a kind of only old people sitting there and i have the wish, always, and that is what we do, intercultural mixing up the cultures because we do learn a lot from one another. not everyone is happy about the changes happening here. several dutch families have left the congregation. simon used to do the music at this church, but he didn't like what was happening and left it a few years ago. we're used to a very international community, society, society, and we love it. i think it can make our dutch
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culture much richer if you're connected to foreigners. it was very nice up to a certain point, when they started preaching in farsi and using farsi as the tongue, it became very difficult, because we couldn't trust the translations. the turning point was that somebody was preaching, a guy from afghanistan, and he changed the message. he changed the message into something he liked. i think in some ways the church are a little bit naive and they are very enthusiastic and eager to help people with the gospel and free them from islam. the danger is that you are used by people who use their baptism for other purposes. they can use their baptism
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to get status and then you're in real trouble because then the ones that are really in danger and need to be helped here are not going to be taken seriously any more. it's impossible to tell how many of the new converts i have spoken to are genuine. but it's plain to see they've already brought great changes to the churches they attend and the church has had an equally profound impact on their lives, offering community and support support in a new country. but the sheer number of people claiming they have found jesus means the asylum system itself has also changed and it's now harder to convince the authorities that a conversion to christianity is genuine, so for those like sohrab,
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who have had their asylum claim rejected, all they can do now is pray for permission to start their new life in the netherlands. the whee kim has not got off to the brightest of starts. a lot of cloud for us through saturday. 0utbreaks of rain, as you can see from the
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earlier radar picture. where that cloud began to break up, the temperatures began to rocket. 2a celsius in places. that's because between these two weather fronts, there is a wedge of very warm air. as the cold front sinks southwards through the ceiling and tonight, that one it will be confined to the southern part of the country and what that a lot of the cloud, a minimum temperature of 17 celsius. to the north of a weather front, some clear spells and it will show that bit cooler and fresher. into tomorrow morning, some showers across north—west scotland could be quite heavy, with the odd rumble of thunder. the dry and bright start to the day and increasingly great conditions as a weather front sinks its way southwards. through the area of our weather front, what outbreaks rain, particularly in wales, and a lot of cloud across the midlands,
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east anglia and the south—east. 20 celsius in london and even even by 9am. across the south—east, the wind should break through the day. the cloud will stick across the south—west, the southern part of wales and the midlands. to the north of that, plenty of sunshine. a fairly fresh fuel in the north but the humid fuel further south, including at wimbledon. a lot of dry weather but a lot of cloud as well. just a small chance of catching assurer as the grand prix at silverstone. is that cold front clears out of the way, it allows an area of high pressure to build its way from the west and that means quite a promising start to the week, if you like dry weather, some spells of sunshine around and increasingly warm, particularly in the south,
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we re warm, particularly in the south, were temperatures could get close to 30 celsius. this is bbc world news today. our top stories: the turkish president, recep tayyip erdogan has addressed a mass rally to mark a year since an attempted military coup was put down. this is the scene live in istanbul. the former british prime minister tony blair says eu leaders are willing to compromise — in order to persuade the uk to remain a member. if we were looking at this from the point of the view from the interests of the current three, one option would be to britain to stay within a reformed european union. and thousands march through hong kong after chinese nobel peace prize winner, liu xiaobo is buried at sea. the first woman to win the top prize in maths, iranian maryam mirzakhani has died at the age of a0.
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