Is the Muslim call to prayer really such a menace?

If broadcasting the call to prayer will really "inflame community tensions", as the Sun, Ukip and Tory MP Conor Burns contend, shouldn't we also ban Songs of Praise?

Share

It is aimed at the devout. Its purpose is clear: to call followers to prayer, to convert non-believers, to ring out across the land like an air-raid siren from on high. The programmes, for transmission on British terrestrial television, will, I fear, inflame community tensions, whip up divisions between religious groups and even spark hate crimes against its devotees. So let's ban Songs of Praise.

Alas, the BBC is set to continue its weekly indoctrination of impressionable young viewers with this vile, dangerous programme. Call it a publicity stunt, call it the deliberate provocation of right-thinking atheists, but this supposedly innocent show about Christians flaunting their religion with hymns – some of which contain such incitements to holy war as, “Onward, Christian soldiers… Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe” – exposes once and for all the sinister agenda of the BBC: to turn all our children Anglican.

This faith, let us not forget, decrees that female disciples must wear “sensible” shoes and bake endless “Victoria sponges” for summer festivals called “fetes”. They may look like harmless gatherings but are in fact capitalist orgies that cream off profits to pay for the very buildings that help oppress its women. And if you’re gay? You face stark choices: ostracism, sham marriages, or worst of all, coercion into leadership – condemned to a lifetime in religious attire that doesn’t even cinch at the waist let alone follow seasonal trends. How much longer will we  let this religion run roughshod over fundamental British principles of justice and equality? The rot must stop.

In other news, The Sun, the Ukip (it sounds even more ridiculous preceded by the definite article), and Tory MP Conor Burns (who always sounds funny) are in a frothing frenzy over Channel 4’s decision to broadcast the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, every morning during Ramadan, which begins next Tuesday. Vibrating with indignation at a frequency inaudible to rational adults, a spokesman for Ukip said: “It will inflame community tension”. Burns called it “politically-correct tokenism”. They fear, seemingly, that so soon after the Woolwich murder, such chanting could prompt further Islamophobic attacks, entirely unaware that theirs is an Islamophobic attack and that censoring religious worship would gain the respect of Mao.

They seem ignorant too of the entirely obvious truism that the more people know of a culture, the greater our understanding of the complexities, rituals and history of a faith, the more irrational fear is neutralised. Much as I (as an atheist) adore sacred music and Islamic art and thus await with enthusiasm the sound of adhan, they, the self-appointed mouthpieces of cosy middle England, are in fact nothing of the kind. Their broadcast, in three-part disharmony, is a hymn for a very un-British hate.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a visit to Scottish Widows offices in Edinburgh, where he made an impassioned plea to keep Scotland part of the union, saying he would be  

Scottish referendum results: David Cameron did the right thing, so why does Scotland’s vote feel like a defeat?

John Rentoul
 

i Editor's Letter: The rules were simple: before the results are announced, don’t mention the S-word

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week