The previous Minister of Endowments’ official decree didn’t see much application, but that’s soon to change this coming holy month.
Ramadan is as stressful a stretch of time as it is beloved to many an Egyptian the world over, and with almost an entire country trying to pull through the day while fasting and trying to deal with Egypt’s many inconveniences, a mosque’s loudspeaker blasting anything besides the call to prayer throughout the day is the last thing people need. This was the reasoning behind the previous Minister of Endowments’ ban on the loudspeakers in the past, albeit to lacklustre effect. This year, the ministry is vehement about upholding its official decree.
This coming Ramadan, all regional heads of administration and relevant personnel will be responsible for the enforcement of the ban throughout the month, allowing speakers to only be used to call for prayer (Adhan) and the second call to prayer that follows (Iqama). Any other use of a loudspeaker is strictly forbidden, and subject to a severe penalty by the Ministry of Endowments, affecting both the person responsible as well as the regional representative of the Ministry for failure of enforcing the law.
Why such a stern crackdown on loudspeakers? Simply put, people don’t take kindly to unsolicited noise, no matter what it entails, and especially in a time where tensions are at an all-time high, even more so for hospital patients, the elderly and those not of the Muslim faith. In addition, it’s not too uncommon for preachers to spread particularly harmful ideologies through loudspeakers, obviously posing quite the problem for all involved.
Photo: Speakers on Minaret, Cairo. Photographer: Anna Kipervaser © 2010 On Look Films, LLC. All Rights Reserved.