Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla has told mosques to stop blaring recorded religious sermons or Quranic recitals from loudspeakers, saying they disturb neighbourhood peace.
“The problem is the thing that does the recital is just a cassette (or a CD or a digital music player),” Kalla was quoted as saying by Kompas.com.
“People who recite the Quran get divine reward, but if a cassette does it, who gets the reward? All we get is noise pollution,” he reportedly said at a meeting of the Indonesian Council of Ulema’s Fatwa Commission in Central Java.
“If there should be a reward, it is the Japanese who get it because they must be using Sony,” he said.
Kalla doesn’t seem to be aware that most mosques use systems made by TOA Corporation, another Japanese company.
Kalla, who is also the head of the Indonesian Mosque Council, said he himself was bothered by noise coming from a mosque at 4 am while he was in his hometown in Bone, South Sulawesi.
Kalla also urged mosques to lower the volume of their loudspeakers, which in addition to calls to prayer, or adzan, are also used to amplify Quranic recitals and sermons.
Discordant voices fill entire neighbourhoods during any of the five prayer times, when all the local mosques blast the adzan, at the same time.
“There is a mosque every 500 metres and it takes less than 10 minutes to walk to a mosque, so there’s no need to wake people up one hour before,” he said.
Guidelines on the use of loudspeakers were issued by the government decades ago, including a requirement for mosques to use only inside speakers for activities other than calls to prayer, but they are often ignored.