Cape Town mosque wants call to prayer removed from City’s 'noise' by-law

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The Zeenatul Islam Masjid in District Six. (Aljoscha Kohlstock News24)
The Zeenatul Islam Masjid in District Six. (Aljoscha Kohlstock News24)

The Zeenatul Islam Masjid in District Six wants the City of Cape Town to exclude calls to prayer, such as the athaan and the ringing of church bells, to be excluded from its noise disturbances by-law.

In a statement released by the Zeenatul Islam Masjid Trust on Monday, the trust confirmed that it had met with mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Baderodien, following a noise complaint about the mosque's call to prayer.

In response, the City carried out a scientific test which revealed that the sound level of the athaan fell within the accepted decibel measure set out in the by-law. However, a "reasonable person" test led City of Cape Town officials to find that the athaan was "noise nuisance”. 

'Shifting of goal posts'

"This 'reasonable person' test, in our view, is completely subjective and changing the terms of reference of the complaint [which] amounts to a shifting the goal posts by the City of Cape Town," read the statement.

"As far as the mosque is concerned, there is a distinct difference between "noise disturbance" and the athaan or any similar call to prayer as an act of worship." 

"We call on the City of Cape Town to heed the overwhelming public support for the athaan and to dismiss the complaint."

In May, the Muir Street mosque committee said in a statement that the athaan had been "rendered audibly by the best means available" since its inception in 1919.

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