A Saudi journalist has reportedly been banned from working, temporarily, after he sparked outrage by saying loudspeakers should not be used for Muslim call to prayer (adhan) and there should be fewer mosques in the country.
Mohamed al-Suhaimi, a journalist for the Saudi newspaper al-Watan, made the controversial statement during an interview on U.A.E.-based channel MBC.
"This is what an extremist agenda is, it scares people into everything. Imagine when these loud calls to prayer that are not unified, sound from different mosques located close to each other. It scares people coming to pray and even children in their own homes. These calls to prayer are terrifying and invoke fear in this country and in its people," he stated, according to the translation provided by StepFeed.
In response, the ultraconservative Islamic Saudi government banned al-Suhaimi from writing and other media related activities.
In many Muslim countries, the call to prayer and religious sermons are often broadcast via loudspeakers.
However, Saudi Arabia has strict rules pertaining to volume. In 2009, Saudi Arabia removed nearly 100 "overly loud" loudspeakers from 45 mosques.
Although Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) has promised progressive reforms and a more "moderate Islam," several journalists and activists are being banned or remain in detention under his watch.
A prominent columnist, Saleh al-Shehi, who accused the Saudi Arabian royal court as a source of corruption, was recently sentenced to five years in prison. Earlier this month, Noha al-Balawi, a human rights activist, was taken into custody for questioning Saudi-Israeli ties.
Many consider MBS to be a Saudi revolutionary but his iron grip on freedom of speech has proven to be as suffocating as his predecessors'.
Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS/GIL COHEN