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Even Muslims say amplified prayers are ‘noise pollution’

call_to_prayer

A number of prominent Muslim contributors to Egyptian newspapers have been complaining lately about the “noise pollution” they must endure.

From amplified Muslim calls to prayer.

From the mosques in their own neighborhoods.

One even wrote that the calls, five times a day and sometimes including entire prayers, are a “source of noise and of torment for the sick, children and the elderly.”

And another said banning such “cacophony” does not suppress Islam, nor is it a “blow to the status of the religion.”

The surprising perspectives have been compiled by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors, translates and provides commentary on the region’s media reports.

MEMRI said that for several years, Egypt’s Ministry of Religious Endowments “has been attempting to get mosques to limit their use of loudspeakers for the five-times-daily call to prayer and even for broadcasting the prayers themselves, which is a source of disturbance for local residents.”

“House of War: Islam’s Jihad Against the World” conveys what the West needs to know about Islam and the violent, expansionary ideology that seeks the subjugation and destruction of other faiths, cultures and systems of government

Two years ago, it limited amplification for Friday services and the actual calls to prayer.

At the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Yawn, the newspaper’s founder, Salah Diab, recently wrote about how fearful his grandson became because of “a sound like an explosion, bursting forth from dozens of loudspeakers in the area all at once. I was startled to see my grandson start to cry, and that he was fearful and terrified.”

He said the mosques “have been taken over by those who are boastful and who compete with each other to have the loudest voice, by means of microphones!”

“Dozens of sermons mix together, blaring from mosque loudspeakers in every neighborhood, and it is impossible to tell them apart, or to focus on a single one.”

‘What would be the harm if every preacher focused solely on his own worshippers – that is, on those who answered the call to come hear his sermon without the noise pollution that he produces outside his mosque?”

Adding to the conversation was Nihad Asqalani, a former aide to Egypt’s foreign minister.

He seconded Diab’s concerns, and added: “Now I hope for a total ban on use of outside speakers, except perhaps for calls to prayer for large mosques … then we can implement Allah’s command: ‘Do not pray [too] loudly or softly – find the middle way.’”

Journalist Osama Al-Ghazali Harb soon joined the voices.

“I too argue that we must restrict the use of these loudspeakers to large mosques only, not small ones, and only for calls to prayer, not for the prayers themselves. The over[use of amplification] and the chaos [that it creates] have nothing to do with the religion or religious adherences. … Today we have an unprecedented number of technological solutions on every cellphone allowing us to be up to date on prayer times. So why do we need these disruptive broadcasts in mosques.”

One opponent of the move to silence the sound systems was Abd Al-Nasser Salamo, a newspaper columnist.

He suggested children are accustomed to loud music, so it is pointless to complain about amplified calls to prayer.

“We are blessed by them and they do not bother us at all – on the contrary. So leave us alone, and don’t annoy us – at least not on the grounds of freedom of worship. You can stay away from these areas so you are not exposed to the hazard of the mosque loudspeakers.”

He also lashed out at Israel, which has been considering a move to limit the sound that mosques are allowed to generate.

Diab’s response?

“Such cacophony exists only in Egypt. … This is not suppressing Islam, or a blow to the status of the religion. On the contrary – it preserves its sanctity and keeps it from being presented in an unseemly fashion.”

“House of War: Islam’s Jihad Against the World” conveys what the West needs to know about Islam and the violent, expansionary ideology that seeks the subjugation and destruction of other faiths, cultures and systems of government

 

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