RTÉ rejects Muslim scholar’s appeal for daily Ramadan prayer

RTÉ One will broadcast ‘Ramadan diaries’ before ‘Six One’ news on Saturdays

Ali Selim, spokesman for the Clonskeagh mosque in Dublin, said in 2013 Britain’s Channel 4 became the first mainstream TV company there to broadcast a daily morning prayer during Ramadan. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

RTÉ has turned down calls by a prominent Muslim scholar in Ireland to broadcast a call to prayer for the next month to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting period each day.

The ninth month of the Muslim year, Ramadan begins on Monday and more than a billion Muslims around the world do not eat or drink between dawn and sunset.

In Ireland it coincides with the longest days of the year. Muslim rise daily at at about 2.30am for the Suhur meal. Their next meal, Iftar, takes place at about 10pm. However, the times vary on a daily basis.

Last year, Germany’s public television and radio broadcaster Bayerischen Rundfunk broadcast prayers from a mosque marking the end of Ramadan on its evening schedules.


In 2013 Britain's Channel 4 became the first mainstream TV company in the United Kingdom to broadcast a daily morning prayer during Ramadan. The other daily four prayer times were aired on its website.

However, RTÉ turned down the request from Ali Selim, the main spokesman for the Clonskeagh mosque in Dublin, saying that it could not be done because TV schedules were fixed, but the end of Ramadan was not.

In a response to Dr Selim, RTÉ's Head of Religious Programmes Roger Childs said he had raised the request with programmers but "as I suspected, they say it won't be possible to accede to (it).

“Because the prayer moves daily by approximately a minute, it doesn’t, by and large, coincide with any of the junctions in our broadcasting schedule,” said Mr Childs

Dr Selim had made no complaint to RTÉ since, Mr Childs said and had emailed to say “he understood the decision, which is based on the impracticality of interrupting scheduled programmes”.

Instead RTÉ, “for the second year running” is marking Ramadan with “short, high-profile Ramadan diaries from a number of leading Muslims living in Ireland.

They include Dr Taufiq al-Sattar, whose wife and three children died in a Leicester arson attack in December 2013, Bohemians winger Ayman Ben Mohamed, and Tullamore restaurant manager Asad Mahmud Khondkar.

Expressing disappointment at the decision by RTÉ, Dr Selim said: “In Muslim countries the commencement of the period of fasting and its end is marked with a prayer call chanted through load speakers placed on the top of the minarets. It is also aired through radio and TV channels.”

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times