British broadcaster Channel 4 has become the first publicly owned UK TV station to air the Muslim call to prayer during the holy month of Ramadan.
The decision has caused controversy in the United Kingdom. The murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich last month has led to a number of anti-Islamic demonstrations and Islamophobic attacks.
The channel is to air a month long series of programmes, which focuses on Ramadan.
Ralph Lee, head of factual programming at Channel 4, defended the decision saying: “Our hope for the whole thing really is to draw attention to a significant minority in Britain. There are nearly three million Muslims in Britain. This will bring a bit of attention to the experience of Ramadan and what they are going through in this period.”
The Channel refuted claims that the programme is a publicity stunt.
Anti-EU party UKIP said the move was provocative, while the Muslim Council of Britain applauded the decision.
On the streets opinion is divided with many Muslims fearing reprisals. One man said: “I think a lot of people who are not Muslim think its not a good idea, that Islam is taking over the country, which not a reality, it is completely different. So that is the way a lot of Muslims feel, that it is provocation, the timing is wrong.”
Since its launch in 1982 the publicly owned Channel 4 commercial TV channel has provided a platform for alternative and provocative programming.