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

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

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: A widow’s tale with an unexpected twist

John Rentoul

For all his faults, Russell Brand is utterly sincere, something politicians should emulate

Janet Street-Porter
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing