I said previously that I was going to come back to the debate about the Call to Prayer a Mosque in Michigan is trying to get played over loudspeakers. It has taken a few days but I am not going to let it lie…

Tynemouth PrioryNow, I am not an apologist for Islam or anything and I certainly do think the religion is the source of more dangerous crackpots than Christianity (albeit less entertaining ones). All imaginary friends are just as insane, and those who “devoutly” follow the teachings of their interstellar teapot deserve maximum ridicule. It is, therefore, with a heavy heart that in this instance I feel I may side with the Islamic nutcases. (Hopefully not..)

In a nutshell, a Bangladeshi Mosque has applied for permission to play the call to prayer over loudspeakers five times a day. Now, I would object to this. Why on Earth should I have to listen to some one else’s devotional wailings. This is not me being “anti-Islam.” I am not demanding they listen to Richard Dawkins five times a day… The people who run the Mosque are the ones wanting their beliefs to be forced upon others. It should also be noted that there are other Mosques in the area who haven’t asked for the call to be broadcast.

So far, I am very against the plans of this Mosque. Urban areas already have enough of a noise problem and adding to it (although I like the call to prayer) is a “BAD THINGâ„¢.”

Now, reading through the article on CBSNews makes me change my opinions a little. We get some comments from the Mosque:

“It takes only one minute — what is it, five times a day? Five minutes only — that’s all we are asking for,” Masud Khan told CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan.

If only it were that simple. Just because the inconvenience is minimal does not make it “right.” If it is such a small thing, why do they want it? Can’t they telephone the faithful and tell them the prayer is on? Broadcast it over the Internet? Anything. Five one minute interruptions add up to more “annoyance” than a five minute interruption.

Next there came a bit I cant help but agree with:

Muslims figured it was no different than Christians ringing church bells which incidentally ring just across the street from the mosque five times a day, reports Cowan.

Actually, I agree. Cant have one rule for one and one rule for another can we?

If the Christians get away with noise pollution (and I suspect the bell ringing will last longer than a minute a time), why cant the Muslims? Why cant every one else? Do Rastafarians get to play loud music five times a day?

The good old kicks in eventually:

Joanne Golen, a lifelong Hamtramck resident, said she finds the content of the call to prayer offensive. “It says Allah is the one and only God. I am Christian. My God is Jesus Christ. That is my only objection — that I have to listen to a God other than the one I believe in praised five times a day,” said Golen, 68.

Really? It is nice of Ms Golen to solve that theological argument – however I am not convinced that saying “My God is Jesus Christ” is really a legitimate phrase. While it could be argued that the holy trinity means Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit are one and the same, this is different. Still, the devout don’t need to know their religion in depth – they have FAITH.

Caroline Zarski, 81, said allowing the call would put Islam above other religions.

Really? Why? Are church bells banned? Aha, I hear you say:

Opponents take issue with that comparison, saying that church bells today are used to mark the time of day and have no religious significance. If the bells are the issue, then turn them off, they say.

Ok. Turn them off then. If they are stopped there are no grounds for the Muslims to get the call to prayer. If the bells continue, I can’t see what logical grounds can deny the Call to Prayer.

9 thoughts on “Tolerance?

  1. Depressing.

    There is no limit to the anti-Muslim hysteria, I would say of Americans, but Europe can throw up a few dozen examples. It’s odd that these extremist Christians who don’t even know who their deity is can see a few street cries taking over from their religion.

  2. Personally, I wouldn’t be over the moon to get woken up by the call to prayer – although it is the alarm tone on my mobile phone…..

    While I think it is in the same category as Church Bells, I suspect we have a more “ingrained tolerance” of them because of the imagery it conjures up. (Sedate Sunday mornings in quite villages with big greens etc.)

  3. Yes. I sort of love them in principle. Especially when connected to the word “evensong”, whatever that is.

    However, they can drive you demented when you cant hear yourself think. (Living close to two cathedrals has that effect on some notable religious festivals)

  4. I’m an atheist and live in Hamtramck. The argument that recordings of church bells aren’t also prayers is preposterous.

    While out shoveling snow, I frequently hear the recorded bells of “Holy Night” and other Christmas hymns playing from Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church. If “Holy Night” isn’t a testament of faith, I don’t know what is.

    The Adhan, which is performed live via microphone, isn’t obnoxious as some might lead you to believe. I’ve heard it referred to on the “conservative” bloggers parrot sites as a “shrill call”, which is inaccurate. I highly doubt any of these folks have ever set foot in Hamtramck. It’s a few lines sung by a man at the mosque.

    The principals of Religious tolerance might be just dogma to some commenters here, but the vast majority of Hamtramckans believe in freedom of religion and our right to express that freedom.

    Ban religious sounds in your own town, we, for the most part, like ours the way it is.

    See you at the Hamtramck Blowout:

  5. Oh, and some mosques in Detroit (which surrounds Hamtramck) have been broadcasting the Adhan since the 70s. I believe there was never any hubbub because they never asked permission.

  6. Hi Steven, thanks for your comments. I am not sure if I have misread them or you have misread my post a little bit though.

    I have heard the call to prayer numerous times, as I said previously I currently have it as the alarm tone on my phone. I think it is a lovely, if haunting, call.

    I am not sure what the comment about “religious tolerance” being “just dogma” to people here means – the issue which initiated this post is the apparent lack of tolerance which is evinced by allowing one religion to impress it’s music and calls on the public, but trying to prevent another religion doing the same.

    There is (IMHO of course) a completely different issue regarding freedom of religion which allows that freedom to impinge on others, but I wont go into it here.

  7. I think I misread a “wouldn’t” as “would” and in doing so probably made a couple of faulty assumptions.

    Being a resident, I often read blogs where all sorts of supposedly conservative people want to tell Hamtramckans what they should and shouldn’t allow.

    They usually repeat horrible things people said during the public debate as opinions of the majority. What they fail to realize that barring a tiny handful, most of the opposition were Anti-Islamic nuts who came up from Ohio for the day. It’s not enough that they live in tolerant places, they want to mislead people into thinking our city is like theirs.

    Usually when confronted with fact they retreat into a general anti-Islam position, saying it’s somehow different from other abrahamic faiths. The truth is that they’ve all been rather brutal at times.

    I’ve often thought of your idea of “freedom from religion” and I’ve recently come to the conclusion that religious freedom, however misguided the belief system, is sort of a bellwether of a society’s freedom of conscious. While I find personally find proselytizing insulting, as it’s basic assumption that the proselytizer has some kind of truth that the proselytizee does not, I’m willing to put up with it so i can live in a place where people are truly free to do as they please.

    I’m willing to afford them that as long as they don’t get bent out of shape when I characterize their beliefs as “magic”. I’m afraid if we don’t allow them to push theology, there will be a taboo against criticizing, which I find unacceptable.

  8. Hi Steven, I suspected there had been a bit of a misread on one side or another. I really never intended this post to come across as telling people in Hamtramck what to do

    If this was something happening where I live, then I may well object to the noise pollution effects, but only in the similar manner I would object to a Catholic church playing “Holy Night” over speakers. I would also object to an atheist broadcasting anti-religion music just as much. For me, if this was local, the issue would not be religion at all – the noise pollution would be the only thing.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the need to have freedoms of choice in religion as well as other aspects of daily life, and this is the main problem I have with the mainstream (Abrahamic) religions.

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