Yup it happens, the news at time makes little sense, it makes little sense for several reasons and that is fair, even for me. Consider the BBC headline ‘Saudi Arabia: Authorities defend mosque speaker restriction’, which in itself outside of any Islamic nation might be treated with a simple ‘Meh!’ This would not be a negative response, merely a response that approaches the sentiment of ‘Whatever!’, so as I read “The country’s Islamic Affairs Ministry announced last week that all loudspeakers should be set at only a third of their maximum volume. Islamic Affairs Minister Abdullatif al-Sheikh said the measure was in response to complaints from the public. But the move in the conservative Muslim nation sparked a backlash on social media”, I initially wondered why the BBC even took time to give notice to the event, for the most, what does it inform us about? Is it to give visibility to Abdullatif al-Sheikh? Perhaps it was to alarm us to “the move in the conservative Muslim nation sparked a backlash on social media”? I actually do not know, but this news also gives us that there was no space for ‘WHO to start COVID-19 vaccination in Houthi-run north Yemen’ with “Houthi authorities in control have played down the impact of the pandemic, largely denying any outbreak there”, or perhaps it is ‘UAE shows last minute unity to host Asian Qualifiers as China baulks at covid outbreaks’ with “The remaining seven matches in Group A – which will qualify teams for both the next round of the AFC’s World Cup 2022 qualifying and directly into the Asian Cup China 2023 – will be now held at the Sharjah Stadium”, neither news is seen at the BBC, so whilst we accept that speaker settings for announcements are important to the people in the KSA, the western population would all like to know the impact of Football decisions (people in the UK are weird that way), oh I reckon that the people in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Italy would react in a similar fashion.
So whilst it is nice to read “the measure was in response to complaints from the public”, I personally would reckon that the rules of Islam have been clear in many Arabic nations, and as these speakers tend to be set, why would there be complaints now? So whilst some might know that the 5 moments are “Fajr (sunrise prayer), Dhuhr (noon prayer), Asr (afternoon prayer), Maghrib (sunset prayer), and Isha (night prayer). Each prayer has a specific window of time in which it must be completed”, the internet also shows us “In a mosque, the muezzin broadcasts the call to prayer at the beginning of each interval. Because the start and end times for prayers are related to the solar diurnal motion, they vary throughout the year and depend on the local latitude and longitude when expressed in local time”, when we see that, some (including me) might wonder why the speaker settings are suddenly cause for concern. The sound of a person calling to prayer the islamic people is part of Islamic heritage, I wonder who the complaining people would be. I would go as far as stating that unless these calls are lately a lot louder, who would complain on speaker settings and the part we read “the move in the conservative Muslim nation sparked a backlash on social media” gives rise to my puzzlement. It is fair that this news would be (and is) seen in Al Jazeera, but I saw no mention in Arab News, so Islamic news made it to the BBC and not to Arab News? What is going on?
And when we see “Mr Sheikh said that those who want to pray do not need to wait for the Imam’s call to prayer” the wondering does not top and here I found that the news also made it to Radio Athens, they give us on their website with the added “In a country where there are tens of thousands of mosques, the decision was generally welcomed. However, it also provoked reactions on social networking sites, with the appearance of a hashtag calling for a ban on loud music in restaurants and cafes”, I could not rely on the radio as I haven’t spoken proper Greek since 3575BC. And more important the information on Athens Radio is seemingly the same as the BBC, but the paragraph comes across different due to “with the appearance of a hashtag calling for a ban on loud music in restaurants and cafes”, all whilst both sides give us the one side that is seemingly strange “The restrictions come as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continues attempts to make Saudi Arabia more liberal and lessen the role religion plays in public life”, I am not sure how to react, optionally, I see in part a reason to disagree. I get that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants to make liberal moves and as we can see on YouTube, several tourists are showing the world just how pretty and how amazing Saudi Arabia looks. I have seen a few of these video’s and the view we see from the Sky Bridge Kingdom Tower is amazing. It was the first time I saw this and I wonder why other media have never given a clear view of an architectural marvel like that and what it offers. Yet even if I were to go to Riyadh, I personally feel that I would miss out on the call of prayer, not that I am Islamic, but it is part of Islamic life. As a visitor we would not want to see changes that are part of the foundation of a nation. Yet, I admit that this might merely be me. And in all this I am personally more stricken by “those who want to pray do not need to wait for the Imam’s call to prayer” I have no idea what to make of that, but I understand that as I am not Muslim, I might not get that part. Another source gives us “The decision has angered ultra-conservatives in the country”, it is fair that there are those in favour and those opposing any decision, yet the BBC (Radio Athens neither) gives us anything on the ultra-conservatives and who they are. This sparked a revisit to the Washington Post who gave us in 2018 ‘Saudi Arabia’s once-powerful conservatives silenced by reforms and repression’ with the addition of “these conservatives now tiptoe on social media outlets like Twitter. In mosques and at community gatherings, they reluctantly criticise recent changes they stridently oppose, such as the easing of social boundaries between men and women”, with that in sight we see certain patterns emerge and the BBC was not informing us of that, or perhaps they assumed we knew that, which in light of the Martin Bashir caper is massively silly on several levels. In all this the one part some people overlooked. If the speakers are to be set to 33%, what stops them from upgrading the sound equipment in Mosques from 100 Watt to 300 Watt? It is merely a thought. All parts the BBC is overlooking and I know for a fact that they have faced the ‘hardware upgrade’ in the past. So the lack of information in their article is calling for a few questions. In the end, the only useful information I got from the article was the existence of Islamic Affairs Minister Abdullatif al-Sheikh. From my personal point of view the BBC article was a blunder, one that the BBC should not have made.
As such my genuinely puzzled setting is quite complete.
A new starts and breakfast is approximately 3 hours and 32 minutes away. Have a great Wednesday!