Jusuf Kalla Calls on Mosques to Turn It Down During Ramadan

The Jakarta Globe

A relatively quieter Ramadan may be in store this year after former Vice President Jusuf Kalla called on the Indonesian Council of Ulema to help control the volume of mosques’ call to prayer.

“There is no other country in the world except Indonesia where the call to prayer is deafening,” he said in a speech on Saturday addressed to the council, also known as the MUI, that was broadcast by local television stations.

“If [mosques] want to compete, they should do so based on the quality of the call to prayer, not the volume of their speakers.”

Umar Shihab, one of the chairmen of the MUI, told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday that the council responded positively to Kalla’s advice.

“We have to admit that there are many complaints about the loud calls to prayer during Ramadan, as if there is a competition,” Umar said.

“Apart from that, some of them start calling for prayers an hour or two hour before the schedule, when it it’s better to be done just 30 minutes before,” he said.

Umar said the MUI would ask mosques to heed the call and be more orderly.

“It should not be about which one is the first or the loudest to call for prayer,” he said. “It should be about the quality of the prayer, because Islam is an orderly and beautiful religion.”

Last December, the Praya District Court in West Nusa Tenggara sentenced an American man to five months in jail for blasphemy for pulling the plug on a mosque’s loudspeaker during a prayer reading during Ramadan last year.

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