Lokalbefolkningen i Oxford har gått til angrep på forslaget om bønnerop over høyttaler fra den lokale moskèen, og mener at det er en påtrengende invasjon av det offentlige rom. Ikke-muslimske innbyggere uttrykker også bekymring for at høytalerforsterkede bønnerop vil omdanne hele området til en muslimsk ghetto. De muslimske lederne akter imidlertid å søke om tillatelse til å installere den omstridte høytaleren til tross for kraftig opposisjon i nabolaget.

Local residents have attacked the idea saying it would disrupt the peace and turn the area into a ‘Muslim ghetto’.

Muslim elders at an Oxford mosque have said they intend to push ahead with plans to broadcast a call to prayer from a loudspeaker despite fierce opposition.

But residents, who packed out a council meeting last month to signal their outrage, remain set against the plan which they say is an «un-neighbourly intrusion».

They said they would rally to block the proposal when it is submitted to the council in nine months time, when construction on the mosque is complete.

Dr Allan Chapman, 61, who lives near the building, said: «The response against this has been incredible, we have been indundated with calls ranging from stiff upper lip outrage to sheer screaming fury.

«The universal message is what an utter cheek to inflict this on a non-Muslim area of Oxford. If this application goes forward then a large number of angry people are poised to form an opposition to it.»

Dr Chapman added the broadcast is not to comparable to the ringing of church bells because: «They are just a signal. The Muslim call is a theological statement.»

Dersom bruk av høytaler blir innvilget, vil moskèen sende et 2 minutter langt bønnerop 3 ganger daglig. Moskèen samler opptil 700 troende hver fredag. Forslaget har forøvrig fått støtte fra Biskopen i Oxford, John Pritchard, som sier at motstanderne bør slappe av og glede seg over samfunnets mangfold.

Residents have said the main objection is the loud amplification of the broadcast.
Elizabeth Mills, 56, said: «We don’t have a problem with the Imam climbing to the top of the minaret and shouting.

«But we object to electronic amplification. The Bishop of Oxford might say it’s ok but he doesn’t have to listen to it.»

Martin Stott, 53, a member of the Oxford Oratory, added: «This is not an anti-Muslim thing, it is more about community cohesion.»

En talsmann for moskèen sier at de ikke trenger høytaleren for volumets skyld, men at det er en del av islamsk tradisjon.

Sadar Rana, 68, said: «Building work will take another nine months to a year, it is then that we plan to make an application to the council.

«We want to fix a loudspeak to our minaret to broadcast our call to prayer. We would like to have it three times a day but if that is not accepted, then we would like to have it at least on Fridays.

«We do not need the volume to be loud but we want to have the call in some form because it’s our tradition.»

Daily Mail: Mosque’s plan to broadcast call to prayer from loudspeaker ‘will create Muslim ghetto’