Authorities in the Ghanaian capital Accra have asked mosques and churches to use WhatsApp to transmit the daily calls to prayer rather than using loudspeakers in a bid to curb noise pollution in urban areas.
The local government in Accra is clamping down on noise pollution, particularly at places of worship like churches and mosques, which can generate lots of traffic and general pedestrian noise as crowds of worshippers congregate on the streets, and additional noise pollution from church bells and calls to prayer.
“Why is it that time for prayer cannot be transmitted with text message or WhatsApp? So the Imam would send WhatsApp messages to everybody,” said Environment Minister Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, as cited by Deutsche Welle. “I think that will help to reduce the noise. This may be controversial but it’s something that we can think about.”
“The Imam is not paid monthly. Where would he get the money to be doing that? We try to practice what is possible. So the text message or any other message is not a problem. But I don’t think it is necessary,” Fadama community mosque Imam Sheik Usan Ahmed, told DW.
There have been similar debates around the daily calls to prayer issued by mosques across the world, from Cologne in Germany, to Michigan in the US, and even in the Nigerian capital, Lagos, which shut 70 churches and 20 mosques in 2016 in an attempt to curb noise pollution.