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Reader comment on item: Which Privileges for Islam?

Submitted by Irfan Khawaja (United States), Mar 15, 2005 at 12:03

This piece is almost entirely on target. I would quibble slightly with the fifth bullet under the "unacceptable" list. I do think that azaan should be construed as violating noise ordinances, but if so, so should church bells. Arguably, the double-standard here has gone in the reverse direction: noise ordinances almost never apply to church bells, but are now being hauled out to apply to azaan.

Incidentally, while azaan is arguably worse than some church bells (five times a day vs. once a week; inconvenient hours vs. late morning), some church bells toll on the hour. Seems to me an acceptable compromise is to allow public azaan only for Friday's congregational prayer, and allow church bells to toll only on Sundays.

Actually, the libertarian in me wants to suggest "noise allowance trading," whereby churches and mosques would have to pay everyone in a certain radius a fee for the privilege of being allowed to make holy noise, in which case I would be zealously in favor of their making as much as they could muster. At least so long as I lived within the relevant radius.

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