I’m going on the assumption that the majority of people know the basic gist of what Ramadan is about, it’s the time in which Muslims fast for a month. A more detailed explanation would be, the time in which Muslims fast, and use this time as a chance to get closer to God. They believe that this is the time where the Qur’an was revealed, and so use the month to improve their spiritual life, and generally become better Muslims.
What most people may not know however, is that recently Channel 4 has made the decision to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer during the month of Ramadan. During their fast, Muslims are required to pray five times a day, and Channel 4 is planning to broadcast these calls. They will do all 5 calls on TV on the first day of Ramadan, the 9th of July, but from then on, only the 3am call will be aired on TV, whilst the others will be available on the website.
They’ve called it an act of “deliberate provocation” aimed at viewers who might associate Islam with extremism. They’re claiming they’re giving a voice to the under represented.
But to me, this just sounds like typical Channel 4 attention-seeking, controversial behaviour.
It’s no secret that the TV station love being controversial and pissing people off, and I don’t care whatever claims they try to make about giving Islam a voice, this is no different.
This has come at a perfect time for Channel 4. It’s still relatively soon after the Woolwich attack, and since then, a fresh wave of paranoia has spread across the country when anything Islam-related is mentioned. There’s been a sharp rise in attacks as a consequence of the Woolwich incident. A petrol bomb was thrown into a mosque in Milton Keynes, another was left outside a mosque in Walsall. These attacks have led to police plans to place officers at suspected high risk targets. Tensions are high, Muslims are public enemy number one, and Channel 4 know this.
Of course that means that though people may be paranoid, they’re still curious, its just human nature. This results in Channel 4 being in the spotlight, and perhaps seeing a ratings rise, even if it doesn’t they would have divided public opinion, and I think that is their aim.
If they were so concerned with being the shining light that gives Islam a voice (though I wasn’t aware they were incapable of speaking for themselves), then why is it only now, when a major event such as Woolwich killing occurs, that they realise its their job to represent Muslim people?
In my opinion its exploitation, and that is the kind of thing Channel 4 love. To exploit a religion for the sake of TV, which I think most would agree is wrong, especially when it is bound to have a negative impact on the religion. I’d happily bet money on this having a negative impact on how a number of people in the UK view Muslims. Already, the Woolwich incident has seen a decline in their popularity, but with Channel 4’s plans, it will not be seen by a lot of people as giving them a voice, but it will be seen as the ‘Muslims taking over’.
Picture this, a family who don’t have really any religious affiliations, but horrified by what happened in Woolwich, watching TV one evening in July and having their TV interrupted by the broadcast of the call to prayer. They are going to ask why. Why should they have to have that ‘forced’ on them in the comfort of their own home? Whether right or not, some people will see that as ‘oh the Muslims are taking over’.
It seems harsh to put it that way, but that is the way a lot more people than you may think will see it. By doing this, Channel 4 will be giving the likes of the EDL and the BNP help in getting their foot in the door. Their popularity is gradually increasing, this will only make it worse.
To some extent it seems unfair to impose the practices of a minority on the majority, even in Arabic countries the call to prayer is not broadcast on a wide range of TV stations, so what really gives Channel 4 the right? Especially when their motives are not genuine.
If you haven’t clocked on by now, I think it’s a terrible idea. To a lot of people, their faith is a personal thing, and going back to where I mentioned that its a chance for a lot of Muslims to become closer to God, that’s a thing that you face on your own. Its not something to be taken lightly, and used for the sake of getting some people angry, and pissing off people.
Other times it may have been acceptable for Channel 4 to do this kind of thing, but not now. Really, who died and made them king?