Maria Fatima Bona, Jakarta – The Religious Affairs Ministry has issued a regulation that calls mosques in the predominantly Muslim nation to reduce the volume of their speakers and specifies the limit of the noise level.
Mosque speakers work at least five times a day to recite calls for prayer but they are also used during religious sermons or gatherings.
Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said on Tuesday the regulation aims to "promote inter-community order and harmony" in this diverse nation.
The ministerial decree was signed on February 18 and should become a guideline on the use of speakers in mosques across the country, Yaqut said in a statement.
It limits the noise level from mosque speakers to 100 decibels.
During the dawn prayer, external speakers can be used for 10 minutes for a recitation from the Koran and the call for prayer. During four other Muslim praying times – at noon, the afternoon, dusk, and the evening – the use of external speakers is limited to five minutes.
Other religious activities such as preaching a sermon or prayers should use internal speakers only, the decree says.
The 10-minute limit on external speaker use is also imposed on the weekly Friday congregations.
The decree wins support from the country's two biggest Muslim organizations Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama.
"Even before the ministerial decree was issued, all mosques managed by Muhammadiyah had implemented the [noise limit] policy. Mosque speakers may cause noise pollution to the surrounding community who just want to take some rest – not just people of different faiths but also Muslims themselves," Abdul Mu'ti, the group's Secretary-General, told Jakarta Globe's sister publication Beritasatu.
Nahdlatul Ulama Deputy Chairman Amin Said Husni hailed the decree as a "good and necessary" decision.