Is Muslim call to prayer on radio during Ramadan the end of civilization as we know it?

Is Muslim call to prayer on radio during Ramadan the end of civilization as we know it?

by Sheila Musaji

The Sun newspaper in Britain ran an offensive story titled Ramadan a ding-dong.  This was their “response” to an announcement that Channel 4 in Britain will air the Muslim call to prayer every morning during Ramadan. Pamela Geller called this an example of the “lost UK”.  Bare Naked Islam calls this “Channel 4′s sadistic decision” and “real British citizens vs Muslims”.  Creeping Sharia calls this “broadcasting the death of a nation.”  The Muslim Issue calls this an example of “Britanistan” and “caving in” to Muslims.  Blazing Cat Fur called this “Moderate Muslim Nation Of England: TV Will Broadcast Islamic Call To Jihad… er Prayer Throughout Ramadan” and the “death throes” of England.  Freedom Outpost called this “treason”, “Islamization of their nation”,  “welcoming indoctrination and propaganda”.

Actually, this does appear to be a publicity stunt on the part of Channel 4.  It was not requested by Muslims, and has not been warmly received by all Muslims.  According to Ralph Lee, Channel 4’s head of factual programming, the broadcast is an act of deliberate “provocation”.  A curious comment from the head of programming of the channel that is airing this call to prayer during Ramadan.

As was pointed out on Loonwatch:

...No doubt that some will ridiculously jump on it and cry “Islamization.” UKIP has already stated that they consider it a “PR stunt” that will “inflame tensions,” while Tory MP Conor Burns described it as “politically correct tokenism.” Today, Sun magazine, the most popular UK tabloid plastered its front page with the disgraceful “Ramadan A Ding-Dong” title and an accompanying article in which they quote extremists like Anjem Choudary and Abu Zakariyya as representatives of the “Muslim” viewpoint.

In my opinion it’s not as provocative as Lee is making it out to be. The call to prayer is three minutes long, Channel 4 only plans to air it at Fajr (Morning prayer) time, i.e. 3am. If anyone’s up watching then and doesn’t like it they will likely change the channel while those who enjoy it will listen.

Anila Baig wrote: How many Muslims will tune in to TV’s call to prayer? None :

... Seriously, there have been many knee-jerk reactions — with emphasis on the “jerk” — to the news that Channel 4 is broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer every morning at 3am during Ramadan.

The likes of Anjem Choudary are quoted as saying this is good. Of course he is. AC is the go-to authority these days; moderate Muslims can go to hell.  But Choudary aside, once I had calmed down I asked myself: Will the sky fall down if Channel 4 broadcast a call to prayer for three minutes at 3am?

The call to prayer, the azaan, is led by the imam and lasts roughly a minute. Anyone who has holidayed in a Muslim country such as Turkey or Morocco will have heard it.  It is not being blasted out from British mosques. Just on a mainstream channel in the middle of the night.  Surely the only people awake at that time will be drunks rolling in from a night out? Ironic, huh?

And believe me, no Muslim is going to be tuning in to Channel 4 for the azaan.  We already have a plethora of Islamic channels to guide us during this special month. Some very observant Muslims even refuse to watch any TV during the holy month.

“That’s not the point,” the naysayers cry. “The fabric of Britishness is being eroded. This is a Christian country.”

They said the same things when Channel 4 broadcast an alternative Queen’s Speech featuring a woman in a niqab back in 2006.

People say Muslim countries wouldn’t do the same for Christians — but this isn’t true either.

Go to Muslim countries in the Middle East at Christmas and shops will be decked out in baubles.  Church bells ring across parts of mega-conservative Pakistan every Sunday morning.

Three minutes in the middle of the night hardly signifies a death knell for Britain.

So, do I agree with it? Not at all.

According to Ralph Lee, Channel 4’s head of factual programming, the broadcast is an act of deliberate “provocation”. Ain’t that the truth.

This is the channel that recently aired Dogging Tales and The Man With The 10-Stone Testicles.

And the channel that gave us The Untold Story last August — a documentary pouring scorn on the belief that Muhammad was a prophet of God — prompting 1,200 complaints.

Channel 4 doesn’t worship Islam, it worships controversy.

With the killing of soldier Lee Rigby and a number of retaliatory attacks on mosques across the country, this is the sort of provocation we can all do without.  The world doesn’t need more provocation, it needs more understanding.

Eman El-Shenawi reported on Al Arabiya Ramadan special: British Channel 4 to ‘provoke’ viewers with Muslim ‘adhan’ :

The broadcaster’s publicity manager Justine Bower told Al Arabiya English on Wednesday that it was part of the channel’s “remit to give a platform to minority views and perspectives.”  “We make it part of our job to appeal to diverse societies and cultural tastes,” Bower added.

In a Daily Mail comment piece on Tuesday, the plan to air the adhan was called “an insult to all faiths,” as well as a “divisive and cynical stunt.”

Columnist A.N. Wilson wrote: “Why do I dislike the idea so much? Because I think it is deeply divisive. Because far from making Muslims feel part of the community, it is actually using a sacred custom as a cheap device for cocking a snook at the rest of us.” ...

James Bloodworth asks an important question What sort of person would three minutes of Muslim prayer at 3am ‘provoke’?:

There’s Songs of Praise for the Christians every Sunday. There are special messages from the chief Rabbi for Passover and Yom Kippur.

So why not have prayers for Ramadan?

Channel 4 will screen a three minute chant by Hassen Rasool, a prayer call leader, from the start of Ramadan next Tuesday. Thereafter it will mark the first prayer of each day at 3am before resuming it’s regular schedule.

It will, however, interrupt this schedule for 20 seconds at four other prayer times during the day for the 30 days of Ramadan.

In other words, if you’re watching Channel 4 at 3am your programming will be interrupted for three minutes. Later in the day, you will also lose just over a minute of television.

I can see how that could be quite upsetting.

Some perspective is needed, though.

According to the front page of today’s Sun, the actions of Channel 4 in choosing to broadcast Ramadan could “inflame tension”.

In other words, there are people who are so angry they are going to lose around four minutes of television a day that the peace may be compromised.

And as if the Sun actually wanted to inflame community tensions, the paper follows this by quoting an obnoxious Islamist by the name of Abu Zakariyya – of the Islamic Emergency Defence Group – who wants to see Sharia Law in Britain.

You’d think the Sun was implying that all Muslims who will take part in Ramadan prayers want Sharia Law or something.

In the end Channel 4′s decision is down to a mixture of two things.

Firstly, like the Sun it actually wants to “provoke” the wrong sorts of people for the purposes of publicity, much like when it made the atrocious decision to broadcast an ‘alternative message by the Holocaust-denying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – although in the case of the latter it would have been wrong not to be provoked.

There’s also a detectable strain of Islamophilia amongst some half-baked progressives, which Channel 4 seems to epitomise. In polite company Christianity can be cursed to the skies, yet criticism of Islam comes with a risk attached – you may be branded Islamophobic; the implication being that you suffer in some way from colour prejudice.

As George Orwell put it in Notes on Nationalism:  “Almost any English intellectual would be scandalised by the claim that the white races are superior to the coloured, whereas the opposite claim would seem to him unexceptionable even if he disagreed with it.”

Personally I would like to see a lot less religion on television. But that doesn’t mean I’m the sort of person who is going to be “provoked” by four minutes of Muslim prayer each day for a single week [sic]. You should probably worry about anyone who is.

The bottom line is that this is a non-issue of a radio station attempting a stunt to gain publicity that is being exploited by the Islamophobes to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment.  It’s not the end of Britain, not the end of Western Civilization, not an example of “creeping Sharia”. 

Here is [url=]the link[url] to the actual adhan that will be broadcast on channel 4