Call for prayer: Will WhatsApp become the new microphone in parts of Africa?
Ghana’s Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations Minister has called on Muslim leaders in the country to consider using text messages inviting Muslims to prayers instead of the traditional megaphones.
The country’s state run news agency said that the suggestion – from Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng – comes following the Rwandan government’s order in March issuing a ban on loudspeakers from mosques in its capital Kigali.
According to the government, the new procedures come as part of Rwanda’s efforts to reduce noise pollution. Ghana minister said the move will help reduce noise pollution in the country.
“In the house of worship, why is it that the noise will be limited to the house of worship…and again maybe from the mosque, why is it that time for prayer would not be transmitted with a text message or WhatsApp so the Imam will send WhatsApp message to everybody that the time for prayer up so appears,” the minister said during a Meet-the-Press program in Accra on Tuesday.
Call for removal
The suggestion has, however, not gone down well as Muslim groups, the Northerners and Zongos Concerned Youth Association Ghana and Ghana Muslim Broadcast Journalists Association are demanding the removal of the minister.
They claim that most Imams and the religious leaders have no knowledge of text or Whatsapp messages and that adhaan or call for prayer is a Quranic injunction which cannot be changed.
Public officials, especially ministers, have also been advised to be careful with what they say especially when it comes to religious issues which have to deal with other people’s beliefs.
In another development, the office of the National Chief Imam has rejected this suggestion and urged their members to stick to the traditional method of call for prayers instead of using megaphones.
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