Five Instances Of Loudspeaker Curbs At Religious Places Outside India

India is not the only place where governments have imposed restrictions on the use of loudspeakers in religious places.
Five Instances Of Loudspeaker Curbs At Religious Places Outside India
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The use of loudspeakers at religious places is in the spotlight again with the Maharashtra government making police permission must for such use. The move came days after an ultimatum by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray that the loudspeakers should be removed from mosques by May 3.

The leaders of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition government in Maharashtra slammed Raj Thackeray but went ahead with the decision to restrict the use of loudspeakers.

India is not the only place where governments have imposed restrictions on the use of loudspeakers in religious places.

Amid concerns about the use of loudspeakers over noise pollution, various pollution control boards have also given directions on their use.

According to Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, "loudspeaker should not be allowed to be operated after 10 pm and before 6 am and all loudspeakers should be fitted with 'sound Limiter'.

There are limitations on use of loudspeakers at religious places in many countries including the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, the UK, Austria, Norway, and Belgium. Some cities have also banned or restricted the use of loudspeakers in mosques such as Lagos in Nigeria.

Here are five instances of restrictions on the use of loudspeakers outside India.

  • Indonesia

    The world's most populous Muslim country has felt that the overzealous use of sound amplification by religious places is an environmental issue and has issued guidelines over their use.
    The country has issued guidelines on when and how it ought to be broadcast by mosques. Titled 'The use of loudspeakers in mosques, langgar and musholla (prayer houses),' the circular urges the religious institutions to follow the instructions of the director-general of Muslim guidance, according to The Straits Times.

  • Saudi Arabia


    Last June, Saudi Arabia had ordered 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. A hashtag calling for loud music to be banned in restaurants and cafes began trending.

  • United Kingdom


    In May 2020, Waltham Forest council, London, gave eight mosques permission to publicly broadcast their call to prayer during Ramadan. Subsequently, another city council followed suit, granting permission to nineteen mosques within the London borough to publicly broadcast their call to prayer during Ramadan.


    Many residents in the area of Newham, in dispute with the decision, wrote to the Mayor's office occupied by Rokshana Fiaz. Later, residents concerned with the public broadcast to prayer received a response back from the Mayor in which she stated: "...the Council does not propose to take any further action or correspond further on this matter."

  • United States


    Back in 2004, the Al-Islah Mosque in Hamtramck, Michigan, US, attracted national attention when it requested permission to broadcast its call to prayer. This upset many of the non-Muslim residents of the area, who pointed out that the city was already subject to loud bell ringing from the local church, while some argued that the church bells served a nonreligious purpose.


    Later that year, the city amended its noise regulations to limit the volume of all religious sounds.

  • Nigeria's Lagos State


    Back in 2016, Lagos authorities shut down 70 churches and 20 mosques in an attempt to reduce high-noise levels. About 10 hotels, pubs and clubhouses were also closed. Some estimates put the city's population at around 20 million, creating a constant background of noise - from the blaring of car horns, to the calls to prayer and loud religious singing. The Lagos State Government in 2019 conveyed its desire to manage and reduce noise pollution across the metropolis in view of the need to protect citizens' rights and privileges towards good life in a serene and comfortable environment.

(With Inputs from ANI)

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