Mega Mosque to Broadcast Call to Prayer 15 Miles Over Speakers – Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
A new “mega mosque” that will be built in the United Kingdom’s city of Birmingham will blast a daily call to prayer through speakers that can be heard 15 miles away.
This one is a hoax.
A fake news website based in the U.K. called the British News started the rumor in May 2015 with a story that appeared under the headline, “New Muslim Mosque to Have Speakers that Can Be Heard up to 15 Miles Away.” The fake news story reports:
“The mega mosque has been granted special permission by Labour led Birmingham City Council to have the giant speaker system installed due to a special provision of the Local Communities Act 2008 which allows religious groups to break noise abatement laws.
“The speakers will be louder than a jet engine and will be heard up to 15 miles away in Solihull and the Black Country. The speaker system will primarily be used to announce the call to prayer in Arabic 5 times a day, starting at 5 o’clock in the morning, angering some local residents that they will be woken up even though they aren’t Muslim.”
Within days, the story had been shared more than 33,000 times on social media sites. Taken out of context, many readers commented on the story as though it were an actual news report:
“If there is no noise ordnances in Birmingham, and apparently there is not, someone should match those speakers decibel per decibel and blast some ghetto rap music every time prayer call is broadcast.”
But the disclaimer for British News website explains, “Most of the stories posted here are works of fiction, and you would have to be a moron to believe them.”
The fake story likely generated such a strong response because it loosely mirrors an ongoing story in the U.K. about a “mega mosque” that is actually planned for the city of Dudley, the Birmingham Journal reports:
“Controversial plans to build an £18 million ‘mega-mosque’ in Dudley have been given the go-ahead after a seven-year battle. Councillors voted through amended proposals put forward by the Dudley Muslim Association by a majority of 5-3, during a heated meeting last night. Dudley Council had originally rejected the original proposals in 2007. Police were stationed at the Council House before the meeting was due to get underway and protestors were left outside after all 50 public seats were taken. The decision paves the way for a 52ft high curved roof mosque with a 62ft minaret to be built in Hall Street. The complex, which was scaled down from previous plans, will also include a 120 space two-storey car park, a sports centre, an enterprise and education centre and a community centre. Opposition was raised about the size and design and the lack of parking in the area. The council had received 370 letters of support and a petition for the application with 1,718 signatures, while 885 letters were sent in against the plans.”
But it should be noted that there are no plans to broadcast call to prayers over speakers that can reach 15 miles at the mosque in Dudley.