Ramadan Live? How dare Channel 4 disturb my dreams of the EDL leader riding a lion through Trafalgar Square?

I doubt they know or care it has given airtime to minority religions for decades


I spent a jovial afternoon yesterday observing imbeciles live-tweeting the breaking of their own televisions.

I say “imbeciles”, as this is an apt word to describe the British lionhearts who – on noticing Channel 4 was planning to cater for viewers fasting for Ramadan by broadcasting the adhan at 3am, when our patriotic pals would almost certainly be asleep – immediately began detuning their TV sets as a boycott.

As tweets flooded in from racists jabbing at lesser-used buttons on their remote handsets and poking holes on the side of the TV with unfurled paper clips, I took some comfort in their idiocy. Just like those charming EDL boys we saw last month giving Nazi salutes at the cenotaph last month “in support of drummer Lee Rigby” here we witnessed a grade of mean-spiritedness displayed by people too porridge-brained to be wholly feared.

I doubt they know or care that Channel 4 has been giving airtime to minority religions, lesser known political movements and off-piste schools of thought for more than three decades. Remember chipper Michael Rosen’s children’s show Everybody Here in the 1980s, where he’d meet Hindu disco-dancing teens and tag along with African immigrant kids enjoying their first British Christmas?

“Look, we’re all here together,” the vibe said. “Let’s just have fun and get along.” Were these Channel 4 boycotters ever cheery children with open minds? Maybe not. And what about the Kabbadi tournaments, the alternative Christmas messages, and the nightly “4thought” films giving acres of airspace to hardline Catholics, Buddhist chanters, stern rabbis and those who want to shout: “I don’t give a damn about any of your gods”. If Islamophobes feel this station has ever pandered to Muslims, then they’re exactly as daft as they look.

 If people feel provoked – as some claim they are – by the mention of Ramadan, then congratulations to Channel 4 for attempting to educate them. I’m not a Muslim, but after decades living among people who do observe the festival, it seems to be a peculiar thing to get het up over. Ramadan, to the casual onlooker, ie me, seems very much like Lent (setting limits and restrictions on yourself in the name of God) mixed with the similar intentions of post-Xmas secular Brits during “sober January”. This is a time to reset the body and mind’s clock and take stock of life. Mix with this a large heap of the Children In Need spirit (stacks of charity work and good deeds, money tins rattled, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you, etc).

When I first encountered Ramadan, many years ago, it seemed at first a mysterious, serious regime, nowadays it’s just plain old Ramadan. Dates get eaten, exercise regimes put on hold, your friends are a bit knackered and hungry during the day, like they’re on the 5:2 diet. And then, as quickly as the Eid chocolate advent calenders have arrived in Sainsbury’s, it’s all over for another year, and boxes of fireworks from the stall in Asda are being let off in back-gardens along my street.

People get a bit giddy, they visit their gran in new clothes and eat a lot of rich food (in fact, this bit is exactly like Christmas). I know this sort of stuff through not being the sort of person who breaks my own television when a Muslim call to prayer is scheduled for broadcast – at a time when I’m likely to be in bed, dreaming about Tommy Robinson from the EDL riding a lion with St George on the back through Trafalgar Square or whatever it is that racist dunderheads cuddle their teddies and think about. I’ve no intention of observing Ramadan myself, but you people certainly put me off my dinner.

Don’t tell Theresa May about mini-trampolines

Home Secretary Theresa May has defied the advice of her own drugs advisers, announcing that the substance khat will be made a Class C drug as soon as possible. It’s used mostly by older males of the Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities. Broadly speaking, it’s like the middle-ground between chewing snuff and a mouth full of twigs. This should keep the police nice and busy. Why Theresa takes advice on drugs at all is a mystery. I suppose it’s nice to get out and have some meetings with experts, even if their input is superfluous. Back in January the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said there was “insufficient evidence” that Khat caused health problems. They said it causes a “mild stimulant effect, much less potent than stimulant drugs, such as amphetamine”. What is that buzz akin to? An extra strong mint and a shot of vodka? You could get higher and dizzier on a mini-trampoline from Argos, but don’t tell Theresa that – she’ll ban them.

If Bebo went broke, could Twitter wither?

Michael and Xochi Birch, the husband and wife team who founded social networking site Bebo and sold it to AOL for $850 million, have bought it back for $1 million. Oh how fickle the cyberworld is. Wither Friends Reunited? Fairwell Myspace! What will become of my beloved Twitter? Will it one day be tossed onto the hard shoulder of the internet super-highway? The Birches are toying with the idea of building up Bebo again, just for the hell of it. I find their easy-come easy-go attitude to making money delicious. When questioned on how they had celebrated making $850m they said: “We actually just went to the cinema — it was the first chance we’d had to go without the kids for months. I think we spent all of $10. There wasn’t a single moment of euphoria. Ultimately it took months and there were uncertainties, but then it was signed. We’d sold other firms, so we weren’t going from total poverty — and we didn’t really have anything we needed to spend money on.” Let’s hope Bebo Round 2 keeps them so grounded.

Twitter: @gracedent

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour's Jeremy Corbyn arrives to take part in a Labour party leadership final debate, at the Sage in Gateshead, England, Thursday, Sept. 3  

Jeremy Corbyn is here to stay and the Labour Party is never going to look the same again

Andrew Grice
Serena Williams  

As Stella Creasy and Serena Williams know, a woman's achievements are still judged on appearance

Holly Baxter
The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea