The government of Saudi Arabia last month ordered that the mosque must reduce their loud-speakers volume to one-third of their maximum volume and to not perform full sermons, concerns over noise pollution.
- The government ordered a ban on mosque loudspeakers.
- People have reacted to the ban saying we demand the return of mosques loudspeakers.
- It is becoming a more economical country.
As clerical power wanes, Saudi Arabia seeks a religious reset.
High-decibels call to prayer by muazzins which have long been a part of Saudi identity, but the elimination of mosque loudspeakers is among disputable reforms seeking to shake off the Muslim kingdom’s identity.
Saudi Arabia has long been associated with the strict form of Islam known as Wahhabism which inspired generations worldwide and left the oil-rich kingdom mired in conservation.
However, the role of religion is undergoing the biggest transformation in modern times, as Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman takes a reform push with the crackdown of dissent driven parallelly by the need to diversify the oil-reliant economy.
Last month the government of Saudi Arabia ordered that mosque loud-speakers be limited to one-third of their maximum volume and the full sermons not to be broadcasted, citing noise pollution concerns.
In a country home to tens of thousands of mosques, the move reacted with an online backlash with the hashtags “we demand the return of mosques loudspeakers”.
It also spurred to ban loud music in restaurants, once taboo in the kingdom but now common amid liberalization efforts, and to crowd the mosques in such large numbers that the authorities are forced to permit loudspeakers.
However, the analysts argue that the authorities are unlikely to compromise as the economy for the post-oil era takes precedence over religion.
It is becoming a more economically driven country that is investing efforts in trying to appear more appealing to the investors and the tourists.
In the most noticeable change that began even before the rise of Prince Mohammed, its once-feared religious police, who once chased people out of the malls to go and pray, berated anyone seen mingling with the opposite gender.
Now, some shops and restaurants remain open even during the five Muslim prayers.
Saudi Arabia is revising school textbooks with well-known references denigrating non-Muslims as Swines and Apes. The practice of non-Muslims is still banned in the kingdom but a government advisor recently told the media that allowing church was on the to-do list.
Authorities have publicly ruled out lifting a ban on alcohol, which is forbidden in Islam.
“Religion does not have power over the economy, social life and foreign policy any longer”.