SILVER LININGCan mosques preachers chaos be addressed?! [Archives:2007/1096/Opinion]

October 22 2007

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
I understand mosques, synagogue and churches are religious places for God worship. They should be places that bring worshipers heavenly peace and comfort. However, what happens in Yemen is completely the reverse. Some mosques have turned into places for noise and trouble to its neighbors due to the use of loudspeakers.

Some of the people in charge of these mosques, particularly in Sana'a where the distance between mosques is few meters, are driving us crazy. During Ramadan, some mosque preachers used to start around 3 am recitation of holy Quran or other sermons using tape recorders and, of course, loudspeakers that walk up children and sick people and even those people who do not stay up late at nights. It is a lot of noise, and due to the proximity of these mosques, it becomes very difficult even for interested listeners to understand what is going on and who is saying what.

I understand in some Arab and Muslim countries the use of such annoying loudspeakers is not allowed. Some mosque preachers even start giving religious sermons after each prayer. Why is all this noise? Why is this chaos? There are people who want to sleep and walk up early and go to their work. There are foreigners whose peace should be respected? Furthermore, people do not need anyone to walk them up at 3 am and continue disturbing them for two hours. They have their own alarm machines to get them walk up if they are interested in praying.

Allowing every mosque preacher to do whatever he likes without regard to the people is chaotic and should be addressed immediately. The ministry of religious guidance should stop such disorder. It should control the function of these people and set a discipline for their job. It should even set discipline and appointments for using such amplifiers during prayers calling only.

Besides, most of these mosque preachers talk nonsense and their discourse is repulsive. They never attach their sermons with the daily concerns of the people and never voice their ailments. Some discuss the problems of the world and attack America or other countries, but never talk about or criticize problems of their nearby communities. Some are hypocrites and this is very clear in the Eid sermon delivered by Naser al-Shaibani who seemed hostile to political forces, instigating the president against them.

This drives us to the question of mosques building expansion. I read a report some years ago saying that around 70,000 mosques were built in Yemen, in comparison with only 12,000 schools. Building mosques has become a fashion for benevolent people. Therefore, in a small zone, one can find more than a mosque. These people do not care to build schools or hospitals or do any other good work that can really help the people. They believe the easiest way to go to heaven is through mosques building. The government should do something about this issue even if their model is the grand mosque the president is building in Sana'a, costing billions of Yemeni riyals.

Mohammed Al-Qadhi ([email protected]) is a Yemeni journalist and columnist.