Familieministeren i Marokko foreslår å skru ned lydstyrken på ropet til morgenbønn, da både barn og turister blir forstyrret. Imamene er ikke enig.
Nouzha Skalli, the 57-year-old family minister, called for a cut in the volume of loudspeakers amplifying the chant of the muezzins. She also suggested that the call to prayer, a daily ritual all over the Muslim world, be truncated.
Radical Islamists have mounted a noisy campaign against her, some of them challenging her right to a government job, given that she is a woman.
«This minister is determined to attack Muslims and Islam,» said Sidi Sliman, an imam.
Others have praised her initiative, arguing that children suffer as much as tourists from being woken at dawn by the muezzins.
Skalli, a well-known feminist, dismissed the fuss as a «hateful campaign by people irritated by my fight for women’s rights». She went on: «They are spreading false rumours by suggesting that I want to ban the dawn call to prayer altogether.»
The call to prayer is a tradition dating back to the days of the Prophet Muhammad, when the first muezzin walked through the streets to summon the faithful to prayer.
Muezzins later took to perching in minarets. The job was often given to the blind, who could not peer into people’s inner courtyards.
Some have sprung to Skalli’s defence. Ahmed Benchemsi, editor of a weekly Francophone newspaper, warned that children’s sleep was being disturbed by wailing muezzins.
«Why don’t people protest?» he asked. «Because they are afraid of being stigmatised as bad Muslims. To mention the muezzins’ decibels is to call into question the prayer itself and even Islam.»