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Religious ministry spokesperson responds to blasphemy allegations

Tempo - February 24, 2022

Moh Khory Alfarizi, Jakarta – A representative of the Religious Affairs Ministry has responded to the public backlash after Religious Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas issued a statement that many perceived to be blasphemous. This has resulted in someone planning to report the Minister to the police.

In response to a question about the latest circular that regulates Mosque speakers to a maximum of 100 decibels, Minister Yaqut allegedly compared multiple noises from Mosques in a small area to the sounds of dogs barking in a neighborhood.

Religious Affairs Ministry spokesperson Thobib Al Asyhar asserted that the Minister had no intention to compare the sounds of adzan (call for prayers) to dogs barking. He believes news reports suggesting the Minister had done that are blatantly wrong.

"The Religious Minister did not compare the sounds of adzan with dogs barking, but is giving an example about the importance of regulating the noise levels coming from loudspeakers," said the spokesperson in a written statement on February 24.

He added that the latest Circular on the guideline of Mosque loudspeaker noise levels is to promote pluralism and tolerance in Indonesia's multi-religious society that would help foster harmony. He believes the Minister was giving a picture of a non-Muslim living as a minority in a certain area where neighbors have dogs that bark.

"The minister gave an example that noises that are too loud, especially that are sounded simultaneously, can disturb people in the neighborhood," Thobib wrote.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1564237/religious-ministry-spokesperson-responds-to-blasphemy-allegation