Loudspeakers from mosques removed in Qinghai to eliminate noise

By Zhao Yusha and Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/21 23:03:40

The Hualong Hui Autonomous County in Northwest China's Qinghai Province has removed over 1,000 loudspeakers from mosques to eliminate noise pollution, according to a report by local newspaper Haidong Times.

Loudspeakers were removed from 355 mosques within three days recently in the county with a large Muslim population which is under Haidong city, according to a Friday report that was later deleted. A screen grab of the report is still circulated online.

The report said the Hualong government has organized various departments and institutions including the Islamic Association to tackle noise pollution caused by numerous local mosques. Environmental protection inspectors from the central government to Haidong received complaints from residents about noise pollution from loudspeakers of mosques this year.

Haidong's Ledu district government published the inspectors' orders on their website this month, including a case of noise pollution from a mosque in Nianbo town, especially during nighttime.

Complaints about noise pollution from mosques are common in Northwest China where mosques have mushroomed in recent years. Residents living near mosques complain that the Islamic calls to prayer wake them up in the early morning, and in some cases aggravate heart conditions of some patients. The environmental protection authorities usually step in and solve the problem.

The call to prayer, recited at prescribed times of the day in mosques, is a centuries-old tradition, and the loudspeakers were invented in 1920s. The ritual itself is not forbidden and Muslims are free to practice their religion across China.

The removal of loudspeakers in Hualong has apparently met with discontent online from some Muslims who complained the move shows intolerance, but most online users cheered the solution to noise pollution and encouraged other local governments to do the same.

Loudspeakers at Mosques' minarets have caused controversy in many countries, including Muslim countries. In 2012, Vice President Boediono of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, called on mosques to tone down their noise after widespread complaints, AFP reported. Saudi Arabia banned mosque loudspeakers for special night prayers during Ramadan in 2012, according to the Arab News.

In India, Mumbai's high court in 2014 directed the police to remove loudspeakers from mosques that had not obtained required permissions from the authorities. The loudspeakers of mosques have also caused tensions in the US and Germany.

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