Muslim phone calls faithful to prayer
Catholics missing a trick?
Dutch Muslims are the first in Europe to benefit from a mobile phone which offers five daily prayer-time reminders, points the faithful in the direction of Mecca and has a copy of the Koran in both English and Arabic.
The Ilkone (universe) is already on sale in Asia and the Middle East, and will shortly hit the prayer mats of France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Belgium and Bosnia.
It sounds useful, but as one Dutch Muslim, 15-year-old Mohammed Bouyeri, explained to AP: "I wouldn't buy one. It might be useful for someone at home or traveling, but not at the mosque. Everyone here already knows what time prayers are."
Fair enough, although surely the concept could be adapted for other faiths to ensure that followers have all the info they need at their fingertips. For instance, a Catholic mobile listing every saint's day, offering snippets from the Bible in Latin and granting free indulgences with every top-up card over £10...
The UK Protestant version, on the other hand, would be a suitably lo-tech device which does nothing more than remind the owner of that bit in the Scriptures about rich people not going to heaven whenever they start banging on about how much they made last year in the housing market.
Mormons might benefit from a phone which lists all their wives' and children's birthdays and issues a suitable alert the day before, while we're sure that Buddhists would embrace a "download your favourite mantra for just $0.99" service.
Atheists, meanwhile, will just have to make do with a spawn of Satan ringtone (Crazy Frog) and a six megapixel camera with which they can swap fascinating snippets of their Godless lives with other damned souls. ®
Thanks very much to reader Nasser Ahmed who wrote to note that UK Muslims can get prayer times SMSed to them from www.MyAdhan.com - described as "Your intelligent call to Islam" - without having to shell out for a new handset. There are more specific details here.