City to meet with mosque over notice to stop 'noisy' call to prayer

(iStock)
(iStock)

The City of Cape Town is on Tuesday expected to meet with the representatives of a Strandfontein mosque after a complaint that its daily call to prayer was too noisy.

A City environmental health official sent a letter to the Masjidus Sauligeen in Bayview on December 4 saying there had been a complaint about a "noise nuisance" every time the athaan (call to prayer) was delivered through loudspeakers on the roof.

The mosque was told to "discontinue or cause to be discontinued the alleged noise nuisance, caused by the loudspeakers".

It was also advised to submit a "noise management plan" by an accredited acoustic engineer within 21 days.

It is understood that an elderly person living close to the mosque submitted the complaint.

The mosque has reportedly since replaced the call to prayer with a single beep.

Notice condemned

The imam of the mosque, Moulana Yusuf Mohammed, told the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) that someone approached the mosque with a complaint several years ago and they immediately decreased the volume of the loudspeaker.

"We are not sure if the letter that Moulana Muhammad received...is a new complaint or an older one," said MJC deputy president Shaykh Riad Fataar.

Area South Mayoral Committee Member, Councillor Zahid Badroodien, explained that the aim of the notice had not been to instruct the mosque to end the call to prayer.

"The aim is rather to work with the City to find an amicable solution to address the complaints raised by either lowering the volume or engaging an acoustic engineer to develop potential solutions."

On social media, people from different religions were united in their condemnation of the complaint and City notice.

A resident of Paarl commented: "Shoo! My late grandfather, a pastor, used to use the athaan as an alarm clock and then he would have his quiet prayer time and Bible study before tackling his day. Roughly translated the athaan is an invitation to pray 'for prayer is better than sleep...' in any religion."

Someone else wondered: "Where is freedom of religion where is freedom of speech why complain now that majiet has been there so long (sic)."

MJC spokesperson Mishka Daries told News24 that the meeting would take place at the council's office in Athlone at 14:00 on Tuesday.

Badroodien confirmed that the imam, the City's environmental health officials and the Specialised Noise Unit would be meeting.

He said the City dealt with all noise complaints in the same manner regardless of whether it involved "a church, mosque, synagogue, other religious facility, night club or other noise-producing source".

"The intention is not to infringe on anyone’s Constitutional rights regarding their faith but, in accordance with the Western Cape Noise Regulations, to address the sound level when a noise nuisance is reported."

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