Channel’s 4 broadcasting of the Muslim call to prayer during the holy month of Ramadan was the broadcaster’s most-complained about programme last year. It received 2,011 complaints about its 4Ramadan season with 1,658 specifically about the broadcast of the daily call to prayer.
UK Daily Mail (h/t Rob E) Writing in the broadcaster’s annual report, Channel 4’s head of factual Ralph Lee said: ‘The level of
Islamophobia anti-Islam commentary we encountered with the 4Ramadan season was unexpected, though much of it came from communities that were either very polarised or very un-diverse.’
He continued: ‘It was balanced by an incredibly positive reaction from British Muslims, who were grateful for the acknowledgement of an important moment for them.’
Mr Lee said he personally received hundreds of emails complaining about the broadcast after he defended it in a column for Radio Times, where he said it would ‘act as a nationwide Tannoy system’ and a provocation to viewers ‘in the very real sense of the word’.
After Channel 4 announced the Ramadan season of programming, a group called Britain First, who described themselves as a ‘patriotic political movement’ took to Twitter to proclaim: ‘ ‘Get ready for a month’s worth of TV programmes pandering to Islam courtesy of Channel 4.’
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society described the month-long season as a ‘publicity-seeking stunt’.
He said: ‘It seems reasonable that there should be some acknowledgment on TV of the needs of the growing Muslim population in Britain, although one can’t help wondering whether this is just another of Channel 4’s publicity-seeking stunts.