In a move few could have predicted, Indonesia’s hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) threw their support on Wednesday behind calls to curb the excessive use of loud speakers by mosques during Ramadan.
“It is indeed better that mosques adjust their loud speakers when reciting the Koran, so as not to disturb other people, especially if the reciters can’t recite fluently or don’t understand what they are reading, lest there be negative comments from others,” the head of the Jakarta office of the FPI, Habib Salim bin Umar Alatas, told beritasatu.com on Wednesday.
Central Kalimantan’s deputy governor Achmad Diran asked local mosques on Wednesday to refrain from blasting their speakers sporadically throughout the day. The call to prayer — or azan — is commonly broadcast over a mosque’s loudspeakers five times a day. But during Ramadan, many mosques broadcast Koran recitations and the azan repeatedly throughout the day.
“Don’t use loud speakers when reciting the Koran. Take pity on people of different faiths who want to rest,” Achmad said during an event in Palangkaraya on Wednesday.
The Jakarta branch of the FPI — usually known for inciting angry protests against “immoral” culture — surprisingly agreed.
“If they recite well and understand what they read, then [using loud speakers] should be okay; it might even inspire remorse to those who hear it. But please don’t be too loud, and do it only during the day not at night,” Salim said.
During evening hours, Muslims should recite the Koran at home instead of airing the speech through loudspeakers, Salim said.
He said Muslims should respect people of different faiths and take care to not disturb others when performing their religious obligations.
“The point is don’t disturb [others]. Muslims should respect others,” Salim said.
Devout Muslims in Indonesia take care to focus on religious activities during the fasting month of Ramadan. Good deeds like recitation of the Koran, fasting and visiting the mosque for evening prayers (“tarawih”) take on a special significance during Ramadan, when pious acts are given more weight than during other months in the year.