So this year Channel 4 are having a bit of a Ramadhan love in. They are going to be broadcasting calls to prayer – the adhan – at strategic fasting times of the day – like when you have to stop eating and when you can eat again.
The channel are broadcasting films, having online ongoing content and asking for mass participation. It’s quite a new concept and I wonder what has brought on this extravaganza. So until I can ask Ralph Lee in person I have done a bit of google search to get some answers…
He wrote exclusively for the Radio Times, defending his reasoning for broadcasting the adhan. “No doubt Channel 4 will be criticised for focusing attention on a ‘minority’ religion but that’s what we’re here to do – provide space for the alternative and a voice to the under-represented.
“And let’s not forget that Islam is one of the few religions that’s flourishing, actually increasing in the UK. Like Channel 4’s target audience, its followers are young. It’s recently been reported that half of British Muslims are under 25.”
Now I have heard the adhan from some rather remote and extreme places . In the pre 9/11 years I heard it from a Kashmiri mujahideen group’s camp, whilst making a Channel 4 documentary. I have heard it in the middle of a Libyan frontline hospital as we simultaneously received patients flooding in from the Bani Walid frontline. And now I am about to be able to tune in to hear it in my room fresh from Channel 4! I am not sure which one I am going to find the most bizarre.Lee describes it as “a nationwide tannoy system, a deliberate ‘provocation’ to all our viewers in the very real sense of the word”.