In the still of the night, Jerusalemites hear the sonorous Arabic call to prayers.
And another. And it keeps going on and on, until the night — and day — is filled with the blare of the Arabic wails, at least in Jewish neighborhoods situated cheek-and-jowl with Muslim neighbors. In the past, the loudspeakers weren’t so loud.
But the long-simmering battle over the loudspeakers of the mosques is heating up in the holy city and now is approaching the boiling point.
Imams in the Arab neighborhoods of Jabel Mukabar and Sur Baher were asked to direct speakers in their mosques pointed towards the center of their own neighborhoods, which have become strongholds for terrorist cells and lone wolf Arab attackers.
In addition, neighborhood representatives were told to obtain new speakers with adjustable volume; this coming after the broadcast level was measured at or near the allowable limit.
Police have also begun to track the sermons of imams in neighborhood mosques to monitor the clerics for incitement to violence.
“This is a disgrace, and an attempt to damage the values of the religion,” claimed Jabel Mukabar activist, Mehdi Akram.
The demand to order the mosques to change the direction of their speakers and for the vehicles to obtain those with adjustable volumes followed complaints from the residents of the Armon HaNatziv neighborhood.
The residents of the Jewish neighborhood hear the wail of Islam’s call to prayer at all hours of the day and night, since Muslims are called to prayer around the clock, five times a day. The residents of the Jewish neighborhood say the Muslim loudspeakers have been wailing particularly loudly ever since the start of the current wave of terror.
Environmental Protection Department personnel sent to measure the noise level at the mosques under an initial pilot test told the Hebrew-language Ynet news site they found abnormal intensities in the neighborhood. The noise level in the Armon HaNatziv neighborhood is “absolutely unbearable” when all three mosques begin to call for prayer from Jabel Mukabar at four o’clock in the morning, Ynet reported.
Residents of the Arnona neighborhood made similar complaints about the five mosques operating in Sur Baher.
Several months ago, Jerusalem city hall approved a comprehensive program for testing the noise levels from 200 mosques in Arab neighborhoods in the city. The cost of the pilot, which tested mosques in Jabel Mukaber and Sur Baher, was approximately NIS 200,000.
Hana Levi Julian