17 June 2019

South Africa: Cape Town Mosque Wants Call to Prayer Removed From City's 'Noise' Bylaws

Photo: allafrica.com
Cape Town (file photo)

The Zeenatul Islam Masjid in District Six wants the City of Cape Town to exclude the calls to prayer, like the athaan, and the ringing of church bells to be excluded from the bylaw that views calls to worship as noise disturbances.

In a statement released on Monday by the Zeenatul Islam Masjid Trust, the Masjid confirmed that they had met with Mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Baderodien following a noise complaint about the mosque's call to prayer.

In response, a scientific test was carried out by the city and showed that the sound level of the athaan fell within the accepted decibel measure as set out by the bylaw. However, a "reasonable person" test led City of Cape Town officials to find that the athaan is "noise nuisance".

'Shifting of goal posts'

"This 'reasonable person' test, in our view, is completely subjective and changing the terms of reference of the complaint amounts to a shifting the goal posts by the City of Cape Town," read the statement.

"As far as the mosque is concerned, there is a distinct difference between "noise disturbance" and the athaan or any similar call to prayer as an act of worship."

"We call on the City of Cape Town to heed the overwhelming public support for the athaan and to dismiss the complaint."

In May, the Muir Street mosque committee, in a statement, said the athaan (call to prayer) had been "rendered audibly by the best means available" since its inception in 1919.


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