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Is it noisy living next to a mosque? There are many factors that can make your living next to a mosque a nuisance. These factors include noise ordinances, Call to prayer loudspeakers, and your neighbour’s right to enjoyment of their property. Here are some ways to make your living near a mosque as quiet as possible:
If you live next to a mosque, you may have noticed that the loudspeaker used to call people to prayer is too loud. The city is not alone, as several other cities have passed noise ordinances for living next to mosques. In Israel, Michigan, and Western Europe, there are noise ordinances that limit mosques’ use of loudspeakers. The city council can do the same, and you can also try to make the mosque limit its use of loudspeakers to the call of prayer, a shorter burst of noise.
While the calls for prayer aren’t the only nuisance, residents have complained about the volume of the call to prayer, resulting in a long debate about city ordinances. Despite the lack of teeth in the noise ordinance, city officials have spoken with mosque leaders and investigated the complaints. For now, the police chief said that he can do little more than mediate between the mosque and the community.
Call to prayer loudspeakers
The debate over the Muslim call to prayer reverberates again. Last week, residents of an apartment complex in Hamtramck, Michigan, complained about the call to prayer coming from the Ideal Islamic Center across the street. Carol Marsh complained, noting that the center organizer never said it would serve as a mosque. Marsh, however, has refused to take the matter any further, claiming that the center will file a defamation lawsuit against her if she published her letter.
In the case of Toronto, municipal officials made exceptions for the call to prayer, claiming that it was causing noise problems for residents. The school board even fired the chairman of the school council for making Islamophobic remarks. Some local governments in southern Ontario did allow the call to prayer and had fewer noise disturbance issues — but religious concerns remained high. However, this practice did not stop Muslims from building mosques, and the councillors in those cities continued to enact bylaws that permit the broadcast of the adhan.
Neighbour’s right to enjoyment of property
A court in South Africa recently issued an interdict against a mosque for causing excessive noise and disturbing the peace and quiet of a neighbour’s home. The court held that the mosque had the right to practise its religion, but that this right must not be abused by a neighbour. This case is an important precedent that sets out the rights of a neighbour and a mosque.
In South Africa, a mosque can be considered a religious place of worship, even though South African law does not explicitly guarantee the rights of neighbours. This means that property owners are expected to tolerate some nuisance from their neighbours. However, the mosque is not the only problem posed by religious restrictions. In some cases, these religious restrictions may not be enforceable against landlords, who may try to prevent tenants from celebrating non-Christian holidays or celebrating Christmas.
Excessive loudspeaker use
In Papua, an ongoing controversy over mosque loudspeaker use has led to deadly conflicts. In 2015, in Tolikara regency, a Christian group protested against the use of loudspeakers during Eid al-Fitr prayers. The Islamic community, however, has defended its actions. It argues that the use of loudspeakers is a necessary part of Islamic teaching and that it supports the missionary efforts of local mosques.
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Islamic Affairs recently issued a circular for mosques detailing the use of loudspeakers. The circular states that loudspeaker use must be restricted to prayer calls and the Iqamat (when the Imam has taken his place during the prayers), and that the volume must not exceed one third of the loudspeaker device. Violations of the regulations can lead to serious penalties.
Limiting loudspeaker use
Saudi Arabia’s Islamic affairs ministry has ordered mosques to limit the use of external loudspeakers during prayer calls. The government has been concerned about the noise generated by the loudspeakers, which can disrupt the prayers of elderly and vulnerable residents living next door to mosques. According to the ministry, the speakers should be set at one-third of their maximum volume. The order also limits the use of loudspeakers to broadcast sermons and the call to prayer. The order has sparked conservative backlash on social media.
The new law was enacted after the Supreme Court ruled that loudspeakers should be limited in public places between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The ban applies to mosques in the United States, too. While some mosques argue that the ban is an unreasonable limit, the court has ruled that the state can’t delegate the authority to lift the ban.