New Delhi, September 4, 2020: Muslims in South Africa are angry after the Kwazulu-Natal High Court in Durban issued an order last week against a Mosque and asked it to ensure that its call to prayer is not audible inside the complainant’s, who also happens to be a neighbour, house across the street.
A Hindu resident Chandra Ellaurie who happens to live near the Madrassa Talemuddeen Islamic Institute in Isipingo Beach had moved court against the azan complaining that the loud noise “deprived him of the enjoyment of his property rights”.
Judge Sidwell Mngadi, whose order is now being criticised, ruled in favour of Ellaurie who has been complaining about the loud noise since 2003.
Ellaurie even reported his grievance to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in July 2004.
Following his complaint, the SAHRC had told the Isipingo Beach Muslim Association to not use any external sound amplifier systems when they give the first call to prayer and added that this call should not be any more than three minutes.
The order that came last week has led to a complaint of blasphemy against Hindu resident Chandra Ellaurie.
The KwaZulu-Natal attorney Yakoob Baig filed a complaint against Ellaurie and said that current action by Ellaurie and his utterances are akin to blasphemy against Islam.
Baig in his complaint has specified charges of crimen injuria, blasphemy, and hate speech against Ellaurie on September 2nd at the Isipingo police station.
Judge Sidwell Mngadi said in his order acknowledged that the proximity of the applicant’s property to that of the Madrassa and the overwhelming evidence of the making of the call to prayer create probabilities that favour the applicant’s version that the call to prayer interferes with his private space.
The Judge, however, refused to shut down the institute.
Mngadi also told the Mosque to ensure that the azan should not be heard within Ellaurie’s property.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Patel, chairman of the Isipingo Muslim Association, has said they would not use any external sound amplification.
While Muslims are overwhelmingly criticising the judgement and Chandra Ellaurie, yet many are supporting the judgment:
A user named Yao Nyamadi said that “Good this is sensible judgement and l congratulate the judge for order.”
Another user named Charles John said that “But this is the modern world now I have my friend is strong Muslim he always sets prayer call on his mobile you just see him running for prayers quietly I really love the way he handles his prayer programme.”
Meanwhile, the Hindu Maha Sabha of South Africa did not agree with the judgment and said:
“Against the Background of the recent Azaan Matter, we have lived together for 160 years as a community respecting all cultures, all religions and generally all South Africans. The unacceptable action of a single person does not change that. We always preach religious tolerance and respect.”
Muslims amount to less than 2 % in South Africa that is overwhelmingly Christian.
By Namta Gupta