Cairo Seeks to Tone Down Noisy Call to Prayer

Government says it's too 'chaotic'
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2010 2:44 PM CDT
A man reads verses of the Quran at a mosque while waiting for the call to sunset prayer in Cairo.   (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
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(Newser) – The morning call to prayer in Cairo is a powerful experience—as daylight creeps over the city, the voices of thousands of holy men (aided by microphones and loudspeakers) fill the air. The ritual fills some residents with holy peace—and strikes others as a terrible racket. Namely the Ministry of Religious Endowments, which overseas the city's mosques. It's decreed that the call (it's repeated five times a day) eventually be delivered by a single man broadcast over a network linking the city's 4,500 mosques, reports the Los Angeles Times.

"The call to prayer in Egypt has recently become a very chaotic process involving a war of microphones and sound disruptions that do not suit the spirituality of calling for the prayer," said one official. Cairo's larger mosques have the technology to support the plan, but others wonder how the city intends to hook up thousands of small, unofficial mosques known as zawiyas. It'll never work," one prayer caller tells the Times. "It's too expensive to coordinate such a plan."

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