AZAN CONTROVERSY: WHO’S AT FAULT?

‘A non-Muslim complain to PM, the PM asks the mosque to decrease the volume, so why be angry with the non-Muslim?’

Faz: The issue is not actually about the azan but the civic mindedness of the society at large. The mosque committee should limit the use of the loudspeaker at moderate loudness for azan only, which takes only a few minutes. This feature should be retained as the call for prayer is the ‘practice’ since the birth of Islam.

For the prayers, the Quranic readings, the ‘ceramah agama’ and ‘kuliah’, if the loudspeaker is needed, turn it down so as to reach the internal congregation only, and those who want to follow them, please be present at the mosques or surau at the appointed times.

Even for such functions done internally in a mosque, the use of loudspeakers should be moderate as not to disturb the other Muslims who come in late for obligatory prayers since these prayers are mandatory and other functions are at the most ‘sunat’.

Pemerhati: When the non-Muslim lawyer sent a letter complaining about the excessive volume of the azan prayers to Prime Minister Najib Razak, he could have easily sorted out the matter quietly. By now, it has become obvious that Najib will capitalise on any opportunity to create and increase tension and polarisation between Muslims and non-Muslims.

In this particular case, the lawyer’s letter gave Najib a golden opportunity to set into motion a chain of events which culminated into yesterday’s demonstration. Umno previously tried to pull a similar stunt to rouse the anger of the Malays against the non-Muslims, when they accused Teresa Kok of making a similar request in Puchong. But that backfired when investigations revealed that Kok had not made any such request.

Some other nasty activities where Najib and Umno could be complicit are the cow’s head and pig’s head incidents, the Allah controversy and the church burnings.

James Dean: Why did Jawi (Federal Territories Islamic Department) gave a copy of the complain letter to the mosque officials? This is a sly way of revealing the complainant’s identity and also a way in telling the mosque officials to let the people have the complainant’s identity. This how BN works.

Malayamuda: A non-Muslim complain to PM, the PM asks the mosque to decrease the volume, so why be angry with the non-Muslim?

Jay Tan: When the lawyer moved into the area five years ago, he should have accepted whatever the environment he is living in, including the so-called too loud calls for prayers. If you still remember, Teresa Kok was arrested under the ISA over this issue, and I know she wasn’t the guilty party. That issue was twisted to the hilt to make her look guilty. This is what you call making issues.

Back to the issue, what made the lawyer (who happens to be a MCA member) feel “disturbed” in the last several months? A hidden agenda perhaps?

OMG: I am not a Muslim and I have no issues with any call to prayer. All glory be to God for any call to prayer. In this instance, the complainant is just arrogantly stupid. The mosque was there first. As a lawyer, he should know that there is no nuisance when the mosque and the call to prayer were in existence prior to him moving there.

This lawyer chose to move into the area. He can’t complain about it now. Why should everyone in the neighbourhood change their practice just because he moved in?

Stanley Ooi: I think we can solve this matter through the handphone. I have Muslim friend who have a handphone that will sound the call for prayers when it’s praying time. Since the loudspeaker is just to remind the Muslim that it’s praying time, we can substitute it with the handphone as everybody now have it these days.

Petestop: Another simple solution – establish a specification for the loudness of any sound from religious establishments to be of certain volume at a certain distance away from any residential area. This way, any development is required to create a buffer zone, plant more trees or erect sound-dampening structures. This is simple logical solution, needing only common sense.

Unfortunately for some, it is just another opportunity to stir the primeval tribal instinct by instigating racial and religious issues.

Albert: In the old days, when there are not many watches or clocks, I can understand the need for the calls for prayers. Due to unavailability of watches or clocks, Muslims, Christians, etc, have to be reminded on the correct time for their prayers. The Christians used to ring the Sunday bells but not anymore as there is simply no need for it.

Can these Muslims also accept when the Christians ring their Sunday bells in a Muslim-populated areas like Shah Alam? Isn’t it time for some Muslims to try to treat their fellow countrymen on equal terms and with respect?

Singa Pura Pura: The dignity of a faith can never be equated to the blare of decibels from a metal-dish speaker. It would be very sad if it could. In any case, loudspeakers are a fairly recent invention – totally unconnected with the religion – and had probably emanated from the evil West. Hence, there is no pride in turning it up or down.

Hopkins said: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil. It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil crushed.” Not from loudspeakers, or arsonists.

Rick Teo: The mosque officials should realise that raising the volume of the azan call in the early morning is causing inconvenience to people in the surrounding area. How would the Muslim people feel if the Indians and Chinese start banging their gongs and cymbal in the morning to call for prayers? Would that also be acceptable?

Changeagent: Regardless of whoever is at fault first, displaying the details of the complainant, including address, phone number and email address, on banners is tantamount to intimidation and harassment. In any developed country, it is considered a criminal offence.

DontPlayGod: How come the police did not arrest them and send them to the lock-up? If Pakatan members, or non-Muslim NGOs had held any demonstrations/protest, the police would have used water cannons laced with chemicals on the crowd and arrested a number of protestors, maybe even bashed up a few.

Apapunbolehkah?: One thing to look forward to after this burning effigy episode is perhaps next time, the police will allow people to light candles when holding vigils in the future? Just one candle, please?

JBGUY: Non-Muslims in this country have over the years been extremely sensitive to the needs of the Muslim community. They have by large been very accommodating and respectful to the Islamic faith but their tolerance is being tested sorely. The same tolerance is lacking amongst some Muslims towards the non-Muslims.

Just because they constitute the majority they have the impression that whatever they do is right and the government of the day, to garner votes, would rather remain silent then take the righteous path.

I pray that my Muslim brethren will see the light and live according to the tenets of their religion which is based on justice, peace and fairness. Somehow, the Muslims making the headlines in recent times seem bent on creating racial conflict and the government watches silently on the sidelines.

Md Imraz Muhammed Ikhbal: Never did I imagine the day where the image of Islam, a beautiful religion of Allah be desecrated by those who call themselves ‘Muslims’. My own kind is today the biggest liability to Islam and as a Muslim myself, the word “disheartenment” is a pale description of how I feel.

My humble apologies to all non-Muslims in this country. This is certainly not the advocacy of Islam. It is Malay chauvinism bred by a racist government over decades and manifesting ever more rampantly now.

Hashim: What happened to the interfaith committee which was set up by the government? It is issues such as this which it can help resolved. Why no action? Or is it a ‘small fry’ committee after all?

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