Channel 4’s move to broadcast the Muslim Call to Prayer during Ramadan has met with widespread incredulity.
Anjem Choudary, who is helping restore tranquility in Egypt by calling for the imposition of Shari’a in the troubled country, has welcomed Channel 4’s decision.
But elsewhere, the reaction ranges from the strongly negative to resigned shrugs, given the broadcaster’s track record of shock tactics in the audience ratings war.
Channel 4 will broadcast the Adhan at 3am from the start of Ramadan on 9th July. They have drawn the line at doing it five times a day. That will be left to the Channel 4 website. Wikipedia sums up the Adhan’s purpose like this:
‘The main purpose behind the multiple loud pronouncements of Adhan in every mosque is to make available to everyone an easily intelligible summary of Islamic belief.
‘It is intended to bring to the mind of every believer and non-believer the substance of Islamic beliefs, or its spiritual ideology. In modern times, loudspeakers have been installed on minarets for this purpose.’
In other words, the Adhan is there to drum the tenets of Islam into the ears. This is because the Adhan sums up the Shahada, the statement of faith: ‘There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’.
The British Constitution holds that there is no God but the Almighty God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is King of kings and Lord of lords. So every day during this Islamic festival, a terrestrial broadcaster in the UK will be broadcasting what in any other age would have been regarded as treason.
Ralph Lee, Channel 4’s head of factual programming, said: ‘Observing the adhan on Channel 4 will act as a nationwide tannoy system, a deliberate ‘provocation’ to all our viewers in the very real sense of the word.’
Lee added in an article in the Radio Times: ‘Following the horrific events in Woolwich and subsequent reprisals against British Muslims, there has surely never been a more pressing need to give a voice to the moderate mainstream majority.’
But that is not what the Adhan broadcast is doing. It would be more honest to say: ‘Following the atrocity in Woolwich, it’s a good time to shove Islam down ordinary people’s throats and whip up anti-Islamic sentiment.’
Muslim commentator Nesrine Malik, writing in the Guardian, said: ‘Apparently, there is an urgent need, post-Woolwich in particular, to show that Islam is a religion of peace and sacrifice. This is an inherently contradictory stance. If there is such a charged atmosphere in the UK vis a vis Islam, why “provoke” people by projecting this message even more loudly?’
There is another spiritual point to make, and it is to do with the power of proclamation, or confession.
Five times a day from mosques all over the world, an imam declares that Allah is the only deity and Mohammed the only true prophet. We can thank God that loudspeakers have not to date been permitted in Britain, but nevertheless, the Adhan is still being announced.
Would that Christians would proclaim with equal confidence:
‘Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.’
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