A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, October 30, 2009

Prayer is Better than Sleep

An interesting piece in The Jerusalem Post on Jewish complaints in parts of Jerusalem about the morning call to prayer from mosque speakers nearby. The complainers are from Pisgat Ze'ev and "other Jerusalem residents from Mount Scopus to Gilo."

Okay. Well, anyone who has ever lived near a mosque, stayed in a hotel near a mosque, etc., expects to hear the Fajr call to prayer before dawn. It's the one call to prayer that adds the additional line Al-Salat khayr min al-nawm, "Prayer is better than sleep." It's supposed to wake you up.

Now about the complaints, or I guess kvetching would be an appropriate Yiddish term. Pisgat Ze'ev is east of the Green Line, next to the suburb of Shu‘afat, and the big Shu‘afat refugee camp, not to mention the Separation Barrier. Mount Scopus, though it was technically part of Israel from 1948 to 1967, is surrounded by Arab suburbs. And Gilo is south of the Green Line, just above the West Bank towns of Bayt Jala and Bethlehem. In other words, most of these neighborhoods are in territory considered, by most of the world, "settlements" beyond the Green Line, or (in the case of Mount Scopus), surrounded by West Bank territory in the eyes of the world.

Well, you know, if you choose to live beyond the Green Line for ideological or even financial reasons you might just have Arab neighbors, and their mosques must might have loudspeakers. And they were there first.

The azan doesn't last that long. Go back to sleep when it's over. I was particularly struck by this quote:
"It's like we're living under their rule," Raz said, adding that the Shuafat refugee camp affected her the most. "It's the area that's closest to my home," she said. "And they just don't care."
Why should they? They're in a refugee camp. What a revealing comment. You chose to live beyond the Green Line. Live with it.


Jake said...

On the other hand, the use of loudspeakers for the adhan is not obligatory in Islam - and is considered by some to be haram. Out of consideration to Jewish neighbours, it would be polite to forego using loudspeakers. Not only are they a deliberate provocation, but it's a matter of sunna: the Prophet never used a microphone.

David Mack said...

The issue is clear. Do settlers want to be part of the neighborhood, or do they want to dominate it?

JR said...

A piece of land here.

A piece there.

A little water here.

A little water there.

Before you know it, peace is achieved.

The peace of the graveyard.

Dan - Israeli Uncensored News said...

Ah no, we won't "leave with it." The loudspeakers were tolerated when the Arabs were waking their own communities. In Pisgat Zeev - no way.

JR said...

Dan has the right attitude.

Leave the settlements but don't take the microphones.

I think that's a basis for a peace agreement.