Channel 4 has announced it will broadcast the Muslim prayer call (adhan) throughout Ramadan, which is expected to start on 9 July.

Ralph Lee, the head of factual programming, explained in an editorial for the Radio Times that the TV channel wants to give Muslims a voice following the attack in Woolwich where Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered.

He said he expects the decision will draw criticism and that Channel 4 is being deliberately provocative by acting as a "nationwide tannoy system".

Lee said 2.8 million Muslims in Britain will be fasting throughout Ramadan, adding that Islam is one of the few religions growing in the UK, "yet the vast majority of people in Britain won't even be aware of its existence".

He said Muslims are almost invisible on mainstream TV and when they are, they normally appear in contexts regarding extremism or terrorism: "Even when moderate Muslims do appear, it's often only to provide a counterpoint to these issues.

"Following the horrific events in Woolwich and subsequent reprisals against British Muslims, there has surely never been a more pressing need to give a voice to the moderate mainstream majority."

Adhan will be delivered by Hassen Rasool, who is considered one of the UK's top muezzins. People will also be able to view the prayer call online.

Channel 4 will broadcast adhan throughout Ramadan to boost awareness of Islam in the UK (Reuters)

"Hopefully [the calls] will make other viewers sit up and notice that this event is taking place," Lee wrote

"No doubt Channel 4 will be criticised for focusing attention on a 'minority' religion but that's what we're here to do - provide space for the alternative and a voice to the under-represented."

True to Lee's expectation, the announcement quickly drew criticism from right-wing party Ukip as well as anti-Islam group the English Defence League.

A spokesman for Ukip told the Express: "The channel knows people will be angered by this and it can't be good for community relations. Religious Muslims do not need a TV broadcast to remind them to fast."

Speaking to the Sun, the spokesman continued: "This is a priceless piece of attention seeking. I cannot believe that the majority of mainstream Muslims want to see this. It will inflame community tension."

On its Twitter account, the EDL said: "Morning Troops, looks like Channel 4 is now Islamified!" The group's leader Tommy Robinson added that the decision was "wrong".

Meanwhile the Muslim Council of Britain said the broadcast will help to provide people with a "realistic account" of Islam: "The Muslim Council of Britain welcomes Channel 4's initiative to broadcast programmes including the call to prayer at dawn during the month of Ramadan, when millions of British Muslims will be observing fast from dawn to sunset, congregate for night prayers and spend in charily for the poor and needy.

"This is a very special month for Muslims and its recognition on a mainstream channel is not only symbolic for belonging and solidarity but will hopefully help to portray a more realistic account of Islam and Muslims."

Muslims pray at the Central London Mosque (Reuters)