Sun, 31 May 2020

The City of Cape Town will assist a mosque in Strandfontein with sound management measures after a resident complained about the "noise" during the daily call to prayer.

Earlier this month, a City environmental health official sent a letter to the Masjidus Sauligeen in Bayview, saying there had been a complaint about a "noise nuisance" every time the athaan (call to prayer) was delivered through loudspeakers on the roof.

There had been some confusion about the complaint because the mosque's imam said they had immediately decreased the volume of the loudspeaker after someone complained.

The mosque was advised in the notice to "discontinue or cause to be discontinued the alleged noise nuisance, caused by the loudspeakers".

It was also advised to submit a "noise management plan" by an accredited acoustic engineer within 21 days.

On social media, people from different religions were united in their condemnation of the complaint and the City's notice.

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), representatives of the mosque and City officials met on Tuesday afternoon to find an amicable solution.

Escalated complaint

Area South Mayoral Committee Member, Councillor Zahid Badroodien, reiterated at the meeting that the intention had never been to stop the call to prayer.

"It was agreed at the meeting that City Health's Specialised Noise Control Unit will attempt to conduct sound level readings within the next 10 days, weather permitting, to assist the mosque in finding measures to mitigate the sound levels," he said on Wednesday.

He previously explained that the City dealt with all noise complaints in the same manner, regardless of whether it involved "a church, mosque, synagogue, other religious facility, night club or other noise-producing source".

The MJC's Shaykh Riad Fataar said on Wednesday that a neighbour near the mosque had laid a "noise disturbance" complaint several months ago.

The neighbour later escalated the complaint to a "noise nuisance", which required that she submit an affidavit stating that the call to prayer was a disturbance.

"In the Western Cape, we ensure that we have the sound of the athaan lower than the required level as stated in the by-laws," said Fataar.

"We live in a society that respects each other's religions and cultures and this is evident when the Community Policing Forum and the local church supported the call of the athaan. We thank them for all their efforts."

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