Channel 4’s head of factual programming, Ralph Lee, has strongly defended the decision to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer (adhan) throughout Ramadan.
Writing exclusively for the new issue of Radio Times magazine, Lee said: "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."
Channel 4 will broadcast calls to prayer throughout the fasting month of Ramadan, which begins on Tuesday 9 July. The adhan will also be available online. This broadcasting first was described by Lee as "a nationwide tannoy system, a deliberate 'provocation' to all our viewers in the very real sense of the word".
Lee also compared Ramadan to more traditionally mainstream events that receive greater media attention: "Nearly five per cent of the country will actively engage in Ramadan this month – can we say the same of other national events that have received blanket coverage on television such as the Queen’s coronation anniversary?
Read Ralph Lee's full article in the new issue of Radio Times magazine, in shops on Tuesday.