Residents of the French Hill neighborhood in Jerusalem plan to combat Arab prayer-calls by blasting music from loudspeakers, in defiance of Arab religious conventions. According to Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, Israelis plan to broadcast music from loudspeakers positioned toward a mosque in the Arab village Al Issawiya, located in Jerusalem on Mount Scopus near Hadassah Hospital.
A widespread practice among Muslims, the adhan is a call for Muslims to attend voluntary prayers that are broadcast from a Mosque’s large towers called minarets, like the one standing over the western wall in Jerusalem. In previous centuries, the muezzin, leader of the adhan, would stand atop the minaret and project his voice, but technological advances have yielded microphones and loudspeakers, which are now utilized to project the adhan remotely at volumes of up to 100 decibels. Jerusalem residents are often bothered by the noise because adhans occur before each of the five daily Muslims prayers, the first of which begins before sunrise, and feature Arabic versions of the basic Muslim creed, to persuade Muslims to attend mandatory prayer service.
In an effort to convey their displeasure, residents of Jerusalem’s Givah Tsarfatit, or French Hill neighborhood, have approached an amplification company with intentions of buying four giant loudspeakers, from which rock and roll music will be played to clash with the Muslim prayer songs. The music, specifically chosen from the hard rock musical genre rather than mellower styles like classical or Mediterranean music, will be played when the Muslim broadcasts begin.
The campaign to limit the Muslim broadcast has until now taken place at Jerusalem’s city hall, where attempted negotiations between the village of Al-Issawiya and the French Hill have taken place. The agreements yielded a promise by Al Issawiya to lower the noise level of their adhans, but French Hill inhabitants claim that no such change has been instituted, leading to the launch of their more drastic rock and roll campaign.
If the campaign is successful, other neighborhoods have pledged to follow suit.