Tomorrow, Moslems begin the 30 days of Ramadan, during which most adults must fast, and abstain from food, drink, and other pleasures, from dawn to dusk. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. During Ramadan, one of the British public television networks, Channel 4, will transmit the call to Islamic prayer daily. Normally, the Islamic call to prayer is made five times each day, but Channel 4 said it would only broadcast the first morning call to prayer. It might not have a large viewing audience as that will be at 3 a.m., but it reflects another powerful cultural shift in the United Kingdom. You may recall that Mr. Obama, in an interview with Nicholas Kristof of the The New York Times in 2007, famously described the Islamic call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” (He should only hear Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. But I digress.) After the interview with Mr. Obama, Mr. Kristof observed:
The conventional wisdom about Barack Obama is that he’s smart and charismatic but so inexperienced that we should feel jittery about him in the Oval Office. But that view is myopic. In some respects, Mr. Obama is far more experienced than other presidential candidates.
So, with the official nihil obstat from Mr. Kristof and his newspaper of record, Mr. Obama was elected. Nevertheless, some in the U.K. have criticized Channel 4’s decision, and others have said they will boycott Channel 4. One could reasonably ask, does Channel 4 broadcast church bells at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings? Or are church bells played at sunrise on Easter morning? Or will the “decade of the rosary” be recited in May and October for Roman Catholics? After all, there are millions more Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom than Moslems, at least for right now. On the other hand, I am sure that many non-Moslems will record the culturally interesting and religiously enriching broadcasts to watch with their children and grandchildren. It is important that children and teens benefit from an early education and exposure to cultural and religious diversity, and to see and hear different traditions practiced throughout the world. This is true even more now in light of the beheading of the British soldier, Drummer Lee Rigby, by Moslem terrorists on May 22, 2013, in the Woolwich neighborhood of southeast London. After all, Mr. Kristof opined that Mr. Obama’s upbringing in Indonesia has benefits for the American people. He wrote:
In foreign policy as well, Mr. Obama would bring to the White House an important experience that most other candidates lack: he has actually lived abroad. He spent four years as a child in Indonesia and attended schools in the Indonesian language, which he still speaks. . . . He once got in trouble for making faces during Koran study classes in his elementary school, but a president is less likely to stereotype Muslims as fanatics — and more likely to be aware of their nationalism — if he once studied the Koran with them.
(Emphasis added.) Well, I am not sure that Mr. Obama’s facility for making faces in Koran class has worked out well for the Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Nigerian, Afghan, Libyan, and Pakistani people, but it still sounds to me that Channel 4 might be doing this more as a politically-correct, publicity-seeking stunt, as I guess that many British Moslems have alarm clocks. I just wonder why PBS hasn’t gotten on this bandwagon yet. Maybe next Ramadan! But for those of us who are Christian believers, it might be a very good time to pray for the Islamic world, asking God to reveal to them the saving knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through the proclamation of the God’s Holy Word. Also, please pray for the family of Coptic priest, Father Mina Aboud Sharween, shot by Islamist terrorists in Egypt over the weekend. (Coptic Pope Tawadros II, spiritual leader of Egypt’s eight million Coptic Christians gave his blessing to the removal of Mr. Morsi.) Please pray also for the families of the victims of the boarding school massacre this past weekend in Potiskum, Nigeria, where Islamists attacked a school, and set a dormitory on fire as the students slept. At least 30 were killed as the students were burned alive in the deadliest attack yet on schools in Nigeria. I wonder whether Channel 4 will broadcast any of the funerals of those murdered by the Islamist terrorists this past weekend. Somehow, I doubt it. And to my Moslem friends and readers, Ramadan Mubarak!