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Indonesia: Should Mosques Lower Prayer Volume?

In a speech delivered during the national congress of the Indonesian Board of Mosques (DMI) last week, Vice President Boediono sparked a debate when he suggested that mosques should lower the volume of loudspeakers during the daily prayer call.

Mosques in Indonesia use loudspeakers to broadcast the “adzan” five times a day reminding people to pray. Boediono warned that the loud volume might disturb other people, including fellow Muslims. He added that a less noisy call to prayer is more likely to enter a person's heart rather than loud sounds.

But many Indonesians advised Boediono to address other more important issues. Blogger happydsf [id], voices his concern:

Grand Mosque Al-Mashun. Photo from Flickr page of hophoptuing (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Grand Mosque Al-Mashun. Photo from Flickr page of hophoptuing (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Sungguh disayangkan, bahkan sepertinya negara ini ingin mengintimidasi kebebasan warga muslim, di negaranya sendiri, yang notabene juga di sebut negara dengan jumlah penduduk muslim yang mayoritas. masih banyak hal yang harus diselesaikan para wakil rakyat daripada harus mengurusi pengeras suara untuk panggilan sholat.

Too bad that this country even tries to intimidate freedom of religion in the most populated Muslim nation. There are still a lot of problems that should be solved by the lawmakers rather than taking care of the prayer's call volume.

Another blogger, Tototapalnise [id], tries to understand the Vice President's message:

Namun, kalau kita coba cermati dengan hati dan kepala dingin, perkataan wapres tersebut merupakan teguran halus buat kita kaum musliman dalam menjaga kualitas para muadzin sekaligus kualitas sound system di masjid-masjid….

…Lalu kenapa kita umat muslim harus memasang muka marah dengan ucapan tersebut dan langsung naik pitam? Apakah sedemikian reaktifkah umat muslim Indonesia yang merupakan mayoritas di negeri ini dengan sebuah kritikan atau masukan?

If we try to think about it carefully, the statement is a soft warning for Muslim people to maintain the adzan's quality and also the mosques’ sound system quality…

…So why we have to be angry with that and losing our temper? As the majority religion in the country, why are we so angry when we receive criticism?

Haris El Salman [id] said that the loudspeaker's volume has never been an issue in the real world:

Bukankan selama ini tenggang rasa antar pemeluk agama masih dalam tahapan yang baik? Bahkan di daerah saya masih ada masjid dan gereja yang hanya dipisahkan oleh sebuah dinding, namun belum pernah saya melihat atau mendengar terjadi pertentangan antara jemaat masjid dan gereja ditempat tersebut, mereka akur-akur saja menjalankan ibadah masing-masing…

…Bukankah ini hanya akan menimbulkan perdebatan-perdebatan yang tidak esensial? Mungkin maksud beliau baik, tapi tidak pada tepatnya. Great idea in the wrong place?

We still have great tolerance among different religions. In where I live, there's a mosque and a church only separated by a thin wall, but I never see a conflict between people. They get along together when practising their religions…

…It will only provoke non-essential arguments. His intention might be right, but not in the right place. Great idea in the wrong place?

There were also mixed reactions on Twitter [id]:

@fgaban: Dalam soal TOA, pernyataan Pak Boed itu otokritik bagus bagi Muslim Indonesia.

@fgaban: In case of the speaker's volume, Boediono's statement is a good self-criticism for Indonesian Muslims.

@anatriyana: Knp jd msalah? Selama ini kan adzan gak ganggu? RT @Yahoo_ID: Wakil Presiden Boediono meminta suara azan diatur supaya tdk trlalu kncang

@anatriyana: Why it should be a problem? All this time adzan has never been disturbing.

@gitaputrid: Sayah senang Wapres Boediono ngomong soal TOA masjid u/azan; minimal ada nyali berani buka front versus suara mayoritas.

@gitaputrid: I'm happy VP Boediono talked about speaker's volume for adzan. At least someone bravely started a discussion against the majority opinion.

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