Noise pollution and religion -An open letter to Bhikkus, Fathers, Priests and Moulavis
Posted on March 31st, 2014

 Mohamed Faizal,  Eravur-Courtesy: Sunday ‘Nation’ (Sri Lanka)

Dear respected scholars from different religions in Sri Lanka,

I am writing this open letter to you seeking a religious verdict on an important issue that has grave ramification for a lot of people – use of loudspeakers in religious premises. I think you have a responsibility to publicly state your respective religion’s positions on this matter. I have a feeling that you may be acting against your religion’s injunction when you use loudspeakers.
First of all, issuing a religious verdict on an issue is to pass judgment on that issue using the religious text. So I believe it is paramount that we, first, fully understand the true nature of the issue I am seeking a verdict on.

The reality of the use of loudspeakers in the manner it is used in your premises is that: it is an assault; it is torture; it is maiming. So the explicit question is: are assault, torture and maiming sanctioned by your religion?
A lot of people experience a sudden loud burst of noise as an assault. When they are constantly exposed to it, they experience it as torture. (It is well known that the Americans use loud music as a form of torture on their prisoners of war incarcerated in their notorious Guantanamo prison.)

According to Dr. Sumathipala, who is a senior lecturer in physics, “If your sleep is disturbed by noise, you could suffer mental stress and turn aggressive. Loud noise indirectly causes stress. Children living in noisy neighborhoods could develop hearing problems later in life.”

According to Dr. Chandra Jayasuriya, consultant ENT surgeon, National Hospital, Colombo, “human ear has a greater tendency to get damaged when exposed to sound with intensity more than 80-90 Decibels. Even a very quick exposure of three seconds to loud sound could cause a severe damage to the cochlea of the human ear.”

The level of noise generated by a hair dryer is about 90 dB. That should give you an idea of how grave the true nature of the level of noise generated by loudspeakers in all your premises is. Also, the duration of loud noise generated there lasts for a lot longer than the three seconds, the maximum duration of exposure needed to cause permanent hearing loss. In fact, the loudspeakers continue to wail, at times, for even longer than three hours.

According to Islam, one cannot be a true Muslims unless his neighbors are safe from his tongue and hands. Islam equates removing from the path something that is harmful to the public to a portion of belief. Prophet Muhammad (saw) ordered his beloved companion Omar (rali) to lower his voice when he recites verses of the Quran in congregational prayer. (He wasn’t using loud speakers.) I am sure similar values are espoused by other religions, too.

Now, how is it possible for religious authorities to use loudspeakers without contravening the values of their own religions? How is it then possible for you to claim religious leadership?

Again, are assault, torture and maiming sanctioned by your religion?
Thank you,

Mohamed Faizal,

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Courtesy: Sunday ‘Nation’ (Sri Lanka)

One Response to “Noise pollution and religion -An open letter to Bhikkus, Fathers, Priests and Moulavis”

  1. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Religion is the opiate of the people. Many want to cling to something to satisfy that inner vacuum – holding on to anything. Religion could be the source of human confusion; questions abound! What/who is God? Is there more than one God? Which religion is best? How many wars and countless lives have been lost in the name of religion? Yes, the confusion lingers, and we can go on …

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