The committee of Masjidus Sauligheen in Seafarer Drive, Bayview, Strandfontein, says it has now been forced to reduce the sound of the athaan to a single beep after one person apparently complained to authorities.
Moenier Lottering of the committee says the drama started when they were issued with a noise nuisance letter by the City last week.
The letter, sent by the City’s Environmental Health department states: “During announcements/prayer times the loudspeakers are causing a noise nuisance, which is a contravention of the Noise Control Regulations... of the Environmental Conservation Act...”
The mosque is warned, “you are hereby instructed to discontinue the alleged noise nuisance caused by the loudspeakers”.
The mosque is also advised to “submit a Noise Management Plan” written by an accredited acoustic engineer.
“It really is just one neighbour that is complaining and what concerns us is that nobody came to us about it,” says Lottering.
“Legally the sound is supposed to be on six decibels but we have it at three.
“The City notice says we have 21 days to fix the problem and we now have to hire a sound engineer, which we can’t afford.”
Several residents living directly opposite the mosque say they are kwaad the athaan has been reduced to a beep.
Mom Tasneem Sarlie, 45, says: “I have lived here for 19 years and the mosque has always been here. Last week we just heard this beep sound and we were told the athaan is not allowed to be heard anymore because of this complaint.
“We are so upset and offended, as Muslims it’s our right to practise our religion.”
Resident Eugene Lewis, 51, says even the Christians are angry at the City and the complainant. “We are very upset, all of us work together to fight crime and now someone is complaining about nonsense.
“The athaan is on for about two minutes a day, five times a day. It is part of our community and our culture; as a devout Christian, I think this person who made this complaint just hates Muslims.”
Sandy Schuter of the Community Police Forum (CPF) says they were horrified to hear of the complaint and are now rallying residents to sign a petition in support of the mosque.
“It really is upsetting, the Moulana of the mosque is onse voorlopertjie,” she says.
“When there is an issue in this community, he comes out first to restore calm. We are gathering 5 000 signatures for the petition to stand with the mosque.
“This thing has the potential to spark a religious war among residents and can cause major divisions.
“People don’t complain about the dronk all-night parties or the taxis blasting their music but they complain when people want to pray?”
The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) says it is “dismayed” at the complaint and the request to stop the athaan.
MJC second deputy president Sheikh Riad Fataar says: “We have confirmed a meeting with the CoCT (City) and the mosque committee for Tuesday to try to resolve the issue immediately.”
A City spokesperson says it is investigating and would not comment on ther noise nuisance letter.