As Salaam Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu
By Ahmad Hamouch, IOL Correspondent
RABAT — A Moroccan minister has sparked uproar by calling for a ban of the Adhan for the Fajr (Dawn) Prayers for not disturbing tourists in the North African kingdom.
"Why Minister of Social Development, Family and Solidarity Nouzha Skalli is disturbed with the Adhan,"
headlined Attajdid newspaper on Saturday, April 5.
"What harm could happen from the Adhan that lasts for minutes."
"Has she ever heard a Moroccan complaining about the Adhan? Does she has evidence that tourists and cruises were disturbed by the Adhan?"
Skalli, a member of the Progressive Socialist Party which has 17 seats in 325-member parliament and two cabinet ministers, told a cabinet meeting last week that the Adhan for the Fajr prayers should be banned to avoid harming tourism.
She said the Adhan takes too much time in some areas, causing disturbance to tourists, asking Minister of Habous and Islamic Affairs Ahmed Toufiq to seek a religious justification to ban it.
"The problem is that Mrs Skalli does not distinguish between the Adhan and the decades-long Moroccan tradition of chanting ahead of Fajr prayer,"
said Attajdid newspaper.
There was no official comment on the minister's call.
The minister also drew ire for accepting a Danish invitation to attend a women conference despite the Danish publication of cartoons lampooning Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).
"The simplest thing the minister should have done is to reject the invitation in protest at the Danish government's position on the republishing of cartoons lampooning the Prophet,"
said Al-Massa daily.
Danish newspapers reprinted on Wednesday, February 13, a drawing of a man described as Prophet Muhammad with a ticking bomb in his turban.
The move came following the arrest of two Tunisians and a Dane of Moroccan origin for allegedly plotting to kill the cartoonist who drew the caricature.
The move has reignited a controversy that first surfaced in 2005 after the mass-circulation Jyllands-Posten commissioned and printed 12 cartoons of the prophet, sending thousands of protesting Muslims into the streets across the world and strained ties between the Muslim West and Islam.
The offensive cartoon had nudged scholars, priests and rabbis to ask he UN Security Council to issue a resolution criminalizing blasphemy.
The UN human rights watchdog UNHRC adopted last year a resolution condemning "defamation" of religion and stressing that press freedom had its limits.