Jakarta scolds mosques over noisy muezzin and loud speakers
The circular drawn up following the strong controversy stirred up in the country by the latest case of "blasphemy". Last week, the Medan court sentenced a woman who had complained about the volume of the call to prayer in the prison.
Jakarta (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The muezzin of the Indonesian mosques "must be in tune". It is one of the provisions contained in a circular of the Ministry for Religious Affairs on azan (the Islamic call to prayer). The note contains guidelines on when and how it should be disseminated. From the title "The use of loudspeakers in mosques, langgars and musholla (Islamic prayer houses)", the document was drawn up following the strong controversy stirred up in the country by the last case of "blasphemy".
On 21 August, the Medan District Court (North Sumatera Province) sentenced a Buddhist lady of Chinese descent to 18 months in prison for "offenses against Islam": in 2016 she had complained about the volume of the voice of the muezzin of a nearby mosque. Civil society and moderate Islamic organizations such as Nahdlatul Ulama (Nu) and Muhammadiyah opposed the ruling, asking the government for a revision of the controversial legislation on "religious defamation".
The provisions on azan, issued by the Ministry three days ago, are divided into six points:
- The maintenance of loudspeakers in mosques should be handled by experienced personnel to avoid droning sounds, hums and other noises that would potentially arouse antipathy towards mosques.
- Those issuing azan must possess a melodious and good voice.
- Do not raise sound levels while conducting a prayer.
- Except the azan, do not broadcast sounds when most people are expected to be sleeping, resting and praying.
- Azan must fulfil basic qualities such as being melodious and easy on the ears.
- Azan should be broadcast at appropriate times like during the subuh prayer at dawn. Activities such as Quran reciting should utilise only indoor speakers.