British TV channel to air Muslim call to prayer

LONDON Wed Jul 3, 2013 12:43am IST

Related Topics

LONDON (Reuters) - A British television station will broadcast the Muslim call to prayer every morning during Ramadan to give a voice to Britain's Muslim minority, which has faced a backlash since the murder of a soldier on a London street.

Channel 4 on Tuesday announced it would be the first mainstream national broadcaster to air the call, issuing it at 3 a.m. daily from July 9 for the entire Muslim month of fasting.

The publicly-owned broadcaster, set up to appeal to minority audiences, will also interrupt its programming four times on the first day of Ramadan with 20-second films to remind viewers of the call to prayer.

Christian programming is a familiar feature of British national radio and television, although its audiences are dwindling.

Ralph Lee, Channel's 4 head of factual programmes, said he expected the station would be criticized for focusing attention on a minority religion. But he said he hoped to give a voice to mainstream, law-abiding Muslims.

"The calls to prayer prompt Muslims to carry out quiet moments of worship, but hopefully they'll also make other viewers sit up and notice that this event is taking place," Lee said in a statement.

British Muslims have suffered reprisals since two men murdered soldier Lee Rigby, a 25-year-old veteran of the war in Afghanistan, in broad daylight outside London's Woolwich barracks in May.

Since then, there have been a series of demonstrations against Islam and a rise in islamophobic attacks, including suspected arson at an Islamic center in London.

Prime Minister David Cameron called the Woolwich attack "a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country".

Lee told the magazine Radio Times: "There has surely never been a more pressing need to give a voice to the moderate mainstream majority."

The Muslim Council of Britain, which represents Britain's nearly 3 million Muslims, supported Channel 4's move, saying:

"This is a very special month for Muslims and its recognition on a mainstream channel is not only symbolic for belonging and solidarity but will hopefully help to portray a more realistic account of Islam and Muslims."

Hundreds of people took to Twitter to voice their opinions, some supporting the move but others attacking the "Islamification of the UK".

Channel 4 has a history of controversial programming: in 2008 it asked the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to deliver an alternative to Queen Elizabeth's annual Christmas message.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

ENTERTAINMENT SHOWCASE

Director Jolie

Director Jolie

Angelina Jolie to direct Richard Leakey biopic 'Africa'.  Full Article 

A Minute With

A Minute With

Jane Fonda on learning from the young comic set   Full Article 

Loren turns 80

Loren turns 80

Sophia Loren, Italy's national icon, turns 80 with book of memoirs.  Full Article 

Breakout Star

Breakout Star

Burberry's first Indian model Neelam Gill conquers fashion world.  Video 

Ig Nobel

Ig Nobel

Banana peel study, ugly art research win Ig Nobel spoof awards  Full Article 

Subdued Role

Subdued Role

Reese Witherspoon finds lessons in 'The Good Lie'.   Full Article 

Best-Dressed

Best-Dressed

Singer Taylor Swift leads People Magazine's best-dressed list.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage