The Logical Indian Crew

Did Saudi Arabian Government Ban Loudspeakers And Iftar Inside Mosques? No, Viral Claim Is Misleading

The country has restricted the use of external loudspeakers in mosques to four and has not issued an order to ban iftar inside the mosque.

A circular was issued recently by the minister of Islamic affairs, Sheikh Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh which noted the directions for the month of Ramadan. Following the release of this circular, news outlets published reports alleging that there would be no loudspeakers as part of Saudi Arabia’s restrictions on Ramadan practices this year.

Claim:

News18 published a report and a video on Twitter on March 10, 2023, captioned, “No loudspeakers, No itikaf without ID, No broadcast of prayers & No iftar inside mosques as Saudi Arabia announces a set of rules & restrictions on the practice of Ramadan this year.”


Image Credit: News18
Image Credit: News18

Other news outlets such as The Print, IndiaTV, LiveHindustan, ABP Live, and OpIndia reported on this issue.

Image Credit: India TV
Image Credit: India TV


Image Credit: The Print
Image Credit: The Print


Image Credit: OpIndia
Image Credit: OpIndia

Major Surendra Poonia, a former soldier in the Army who has often shared misinformation, shared the viral claim saying loudspeakers had been banned in Saudi mosques.

These media outlets and social media users also claimed that no iftar would be held within mosques.

Fact Check:

We observed the March 3 circular released by the Ministry closely and found no mention of ‘loudspeakers.’ The circular notes directives for mosques, such as no absenteeism unless absolutely necessary during the month of Ramadan and not collecting financial donations for projects to iftar the fast.

We checked whether Saudi Arabia had banned loudspeakers across the country but found no such reports. However, the keyword search threw up a report by Siasat Daily published on January 20, 2023. The Siasat report noted that Saudi Arabia issued directives to restrict the use of external loudspeakers in mosques across the country.

A Gulf News report published on January 19, 2023, provided more details. The report noted that Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Dr. Abdul Latif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh had set the number of external loudspeakers at four which are to be used in mosques for prayer calls.

As per the Gulf News report, Dr. Al Sheikh had instructed all Imams to remove extra loudspeakers, if any, from mosques. He advised them to either store them in a warehouse for later use or give them away to mosques that do not have enough.

Image Credit: The Gulf News
Image Credit: The Gulf News

In June 2021, as per an AlJazeera report, Saudi Arabia’s Islamic affairs Islamic affairs ministry ordered that the speakers should be set at no more than one-third of their maximum volume. “Islamic Affairs Minister Abdullatif al-Sheikh said on Monday the order was in response to citizens’ complaints that the loud volume was disturbing children as well as the elderly,” the AlJazeera report noted.

Regarding the order on iftar, which is the ceremonial breaking of the day’s fast during the month of Ramadan, it is held in the courtyards attached to the mosque and not inside the structure. In its directive, the Islamic Ministry stated that iftar should be held at places designated for the purpose of the mosque's courtyards under the supervision of imams and muezzins. The place should be cleaned immediately after the iftar is over. “No temporary tents or rooms should be set up for the purpose,” the ministry noted.

We also came across a report by news outlet ‘Almayadeen’ published on March 9, 2023, where Saudi Arabian government spokesperson Abdullah Al-Enezi clarified the ministry’s stance on iftar. He also rubbished the claims that iftar was not permitted; he said that it would be arranged in a way that the sanctity and cleanliness of the mosque were maintained.

"The Ministry does not prevent breaking the fast in mosques but, rather, organises it so that there is a responsible person who takes permission from it, and it will have facilities within the framework of preserving the sanctity and cleanliness of the mosque and not collecting donations other than official.", said Ministry's spokesman, Abdullah Al-Enezi said as per news outlet Almayadeen.

Image Credit: Alamayadeen.net
Image Credit: Alamayadeen.net

Conclusion:

The viral claim that Saudi Arabia banned the use of loudspeakers is misleading. The country has restricted the use of external loudspeakers in mosques to four and has not issued an order to ban iftar inside the mosque.

If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at factcheck@thelogicalindian.com or WhatsApp at 6364000343.

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Writer : Jakir Hassan
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Editor : Bharat Nayak
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Creatives : Jakir Hassan

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