Channel 4 to broadcast Muslim call to prayer every morning during Ramadan
Published 02/07/2013 | 09:35
Channel 4 will broadcast the Muslim call to prayer every morning during Ramadan.
The film is part of an examination of the religious event which sees millions of Muslims around the world fast for a month.
The channel's head of factual programming Ralph Lee said it had previously been nearly invisible on mainstream TV.
He said: "It's easy for non-Muslims to see Islam through a superficial prism of what is forbidden, and Ramadan through the physical hardship of fasting and control.
"For Muslims, however, Ramadan provides great physical and spiritual gains.
"It's a time of reformation and reflection, whether that's developing a greater awareness of the suffering of others, feeling a stronger affinity with their Muslim brothers and sisters around the world, or resolving to change the way they live their lives for the greater good."
The channel will also broadcast the traditional call to prayer, delivered by muezzin Hassen Rasool, online. It will be automatically played at the same time it is played in mosques around London.
Mr Lee said it would "act as a nationwide Tannoy system" and a provocation to viewers "in the very real sense of the word".
The channel's series about Ramadan, which begins later this month, will also include a documentary with Rashid Khan, a former rugby player who starred in the award-winning Make Bradford British, which examines how Muslims in Britain prepare for the holy month.
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, assistant general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), welcomed the move by Channel 4.
"I think it is a brilliant idea, I am very excited about it. I am sure it is going to make Muslims very happy and very proud that the call to prayer is on a mainstream television channel. It recognises that Islam and Muslims are very much part and parcel of modern-day Britain."
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: "It seems reasonable that there should be some acknowledgment on TV of the needs of the growing Muslim population in Britain, although one can't help wondering whether this is just another of Channel 4's publicity-seeking stunts.
"Given that the BBC devotes hundreds of hours a year to Christianity, with two or three church services every day on its radio stations, and hardly any mention of minority religions, a few minutes devoted to Islam doesn't seem unreasonable.
"At the same time, we should also acknowledge that only 5% of the population is Muslim, so it really needs to kept in proportion.
"We should also remember that it is against the Ofcom broadcasting code to proselytise on TV for a particular religion, although that does not seem to stop the BBC."