PRAYER UPDATE FROM ISRAEL –NOVEMBER 21, 2016
Al-Aqsa Mosque minaret in Jerusalem
1. SOUND POLLUTION IN THE ATMOSPHERE OVER JERUSALEM AND THE LAND OF ISRAEL
More than the sounds of many waters, Than the mighty breakers of the sea, The Lord on high is mighty (Psalm 93:4).
For the Lord is going to destroy Babylon, And He will make her loud noise vanish from her. And their waves will roar like many waters; The tumult of their voices sounds forth (Jeremiah 51:55).
Above every Islamic mosque rises a minaret, a tall thin tower usually adjoined to the mosque wall. In earlier times, a muezzin [myu-EZ-in] would climb the tower five times a day, emerging onto a circular balcony near the top, from which he would lead Muslims in the surrounding area through the proscribed prayers (praying these prayers comprises one of the “Five Pillars” of Islam).
With the development of electrically amplified sound, during the past century more and more mosques began installing loudspeakers on the minarets. When cranked too loud, this can cause annoyance to everyone (including first of all, the citizens of the Muslim neighborhood). In Egypt, Indonesia, India and many cities in Europe, laws have been passed limiting the levels of the speakers, or, in some cases banning them altogether.
The Koran itself instructs “Do not recite (too) loudly in your prayer or (too) quietly, but seek between that an (intermediate) way” (Surah al-Israh, 17:110). In designing the new Grand Mosque of Marseille, France, some years ago, officials sought to avert this issue by laying out plans for total silence—no muezzin, live or recorded; rather, a flashing beam of light would be released from the minaret for several minutes five time a day. This issue of overly-loud amplifiers is a concern which continues to be addressed by Muslims themselves throughout the world.
But such has not been the case in Israel, especially Jerusalem. At 4:00 a.m. many mosques start up here, with the volume sometimes turned up so as to be heard within a five-kilometer radius. If there are several minarets within the same vicinity (there are four on the Temple Mount alone), they often overlap, one awakening as the other subsides. Recently, the issue was brought to the Knesset floor by an MK from Pisgat Ze’ev in northern Jerusalem. There the problem has intensified steadily over the past five years as new mosques have been built in nearby Muslim communities.
Set on the crests of hills and in valleys, they can release a cacophonous, re-echoing din. Particularly in summer, when families without air conditioning are required to keep their windows opened, the whole house is shaken awake in evenings and very early each morning. The same can be said in many places around Jerusalem. Although there exists a “Law for the Prevention of Nuisances” which prohibits making unreasonably loud noises, the authorities have been lax in enforcing it as related to mosques—presumably out of fear of stirring up accusations of religious discrimination. So the sound of this one religion over the city gets louder and louder (the only sound from the Jewish side is a one-minute siren thirty minutes before sundown on Friday afternoons to alert families to prepare for Shabbat).
Last week the Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved for first reading in the Knesset a bill which would outlaw the use of outdoor loudspeakers in all houses of worship. Obviously aimed at the misuse of these systems in mosques, the legislation would prevent loud calls to prayer and “conveying religious or nationalist messages, or even words of incitement” (during times of tension, the speakers have been known to send out messages from Hamas, calling Muslim citizens to violent confrontation with Israeli authorities.). At his weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed his support for the bill, claiming that “citizens of all religions” have complained about the excessive noise from the muezzins, that “Israel is committed to freedom for all religions, but is also responsible for protecting its citizens from noise.”
Predictably, the proposed legislation has awakened a storm. Last week, convinced by their mullahs that this was an attack upon their religion, thousands of Muslims across Israel demonstrated against it (this despite the fact that the noise is an unnecessary infringement upon the peace of their own neighborhoods as well). The Kingdom of Jordan’s highest religious authority called the move “false and insignificant” because “an occupier (i.e. Israel) cannot make any historical change to the city it occupies [Jerusalem].” Jordan’s present treaty with Israel requires that that kingdom maintains custodianship of the Islamic holy sites on the Temple Mount (jointly patrolled with Israeli security forces). The Jordanian religious authority went on to declare that the call to prayer from the Al-Aqsa Mosque’s loudspeakers would “remain forever.”
And criticism is rapidly heating in Arab internet media around the world. It is uncertain whether the bill will be able to pass. If its being brought forward can result in tighter enforcement of the existing laws, perhaps it won’t be necessary. Either way, there is no question that the Enemy would like to use the issue as a means of roiling up accusation and violence in the land.
All of this is, of course, related to a spiritual war for the atmosphere over this nation, and over the capital where the King will one day reign. Praise God! –that there is a growing Body of believers in the Land, whose praises and declarations, along with those of visiting Brothers and Sisters from the Nations, are rising to displace the darkness pressing in from above. There are presently at least four houses of prayer and worship as well as many congregations in Jerusalem releasing continual praise and supplication to the Most High!
* That the Lord will guide Israel’s government and law-enforcement officers in what measures are best to take at this time in controlling noise levels from the amplifiers on minarets around the country and in Jerusalem. Pray that laws would be fair for all, and would be enforced.
* That the Prince of the Power of the Air will not be allowed to cross the line appointed as his domain during this season. That he will not have dominance in forcing falsehood and violence day and night through the air, into the experience of those living in Israel and Jerusalem. Pray that angels be released over Israel and Jerusalem to inforce this.
* That false religious systems which have captured the air over Israel for centuries would come down.
* That the Sounds of Heaven would invade earth over Jerusalem. That God will release High Praise and Worship in Spirit and in Truth , Holy Confession and Testimony from His servants into the atmosphere throughout Israel. That it light and truth will displace regions of darkness over the city and the Land.
–Norma and Martin Sarvis