Mosques Above The Law! ‘Too Sensitive’ to Enforce Noise Control! And Criticism? – ‘An Outrage!’

Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta’s Largest – Few Complaints There, But…
Nobody in Jakarta is prepared to initiate new rules or enforce existing ones to curb the often cacaphonous ululations that emanate frequently from the city’s thousands of mosques.
This hardly comes as a surprise but even I was slightly taken aback at the shrill reaction of the Muslim Brotherhood-clone party, the PKS, whose spokesman in the  parliamentary debate denounced the very idea that the noise should be brought down a few decibels as ‘OUTRAGEOUS!’
Surahman    PKS

That gem of tolerance came from Commission VIII deputy chairman, Surahman Hidayat, of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) who added that reducing the volume of speakers during a call to prayer would lessen the meaning of the Muslim prayer ritual.
Personally, I am long since used to the call to prayer and even sleep peacefully through it most times, though when I’ve had one of my famous Jakarta nights out, it can exacerbate the after-effects something fierce!
The prolonged din from some mosques is what’s really outrageous.


Not the five minute blast immediately prior to the five-times daily prayers – that’s just something one gets used to. And those inconsiderate oafs who double or triple park outside the mosques, exacerbating traffic problems, are another blot on the urban landscape. And the arrogant way they take over public highways, squatting in the middle of the road, regardless of the inconvenience to others – pure selfishness!


But what is perhaps most irksome is the practice of using their speakers to relay entire sermons to everyone within several blocks. My regular angkot trips along our local High Street, which often occur around noon, since I don’t start work till 3pm or thereabouts, are often enlivened with the blat-blat-blat of some ustad. Who needs that before you’ve even begun your working day?


But the irrepressible Surahman has to bash on.

“The point of using speakers is to be loud so that people can hear the call to prayer. If they can already hear us, than we don’t need the call to prayer. Adzan is part of the Muslim ritual, and that ritual is a given, so I don’t think we need to limit the volume,” he said.

So it’s a given – for some folks! And to heck with the right of others to enjoy peace and quiet.


VP Boediono


Even former VP Jusuf Kalla and current VP Boediono have recognised that there are many mosques with utterly inconsiderate management who blast away at ridiculous volume. Boediono  criticized the high volume of speakers used to broadcast the call for adzan, saying that while all citizens could “understand that adzan was very sacred for all Muslims”, he preferred “adzan with lower voices” rather than “loud ones”

But the MPs, in their usual infinite wisdom, won’t lift a finger, nor will Jakarta’s City Council, which actually HAS regulations which, if applied to the problem, might help.



Chairwoman of the House of Representatives’ Commission VIII ( Religion and Social Affairs) Ida Fauziah, said “I don’t think we need an official regulation, be it a local ordinance or law, to regulate the volume of speakers used in broadcasting the call for prayer. Let the mosques’ managers decide for themselves how loud the volume should be. There shouldn’t be one standard level because each mosque has a different environment,” she said.

But there already IS a law, albeit a local one, that could help.

But making mosques comply with the law? Ya gotta be kiddin’!



Contacted separately, Jakarta administration spokesman Cucu Ahmad Kurnia said “There are some local ordinances regarding public order, including one passed in 2007. However, adzan is not regarded as a public disturbance given the sensitivity of the issue. Some people might be annoyed by it but most of us, who live in a predominantly Muslim country, still need it,” he said.

Why is it sensitive to expect mosques to respect the feelings of non-Muslims?

Need it? Who needs it? Even the poorest pedlars here have wrist-watches and/or mobile phones they can consult.

Cucu said the Jakarta administration had never received any serious complaints demanding mosques lower the volume of their call to prayer..
So does that mean he received jokey complaints? Brave jesters indeed!