The next sound heard ringing out over Oxford’s dreaming spires may not be church bells, but the ullulations of the Mohammedan muezzin summoning the faithful to pray five times (not three times) a day.
Public proclamations (in Arabic) that “There is no God but Allah” and that “Mohammed is the prophet of God” may well strike some as signals of Islamic domination, which the battles of Tours and Vienna ought to have effectually prevented.
The Daily Mail reports resistance:
Muslim plans to broadcast a loudspeaker call to prayer from a city centre mosque have been attacked by local residents who say it would turn the area into a “Muslim ghetto”.
Dozens of people packed out a council meeting to express their concerns over the plans for a two-minute long call to prayer to be issued three times a day, saying that it could drown out the traditional sound of church bells.
But a spokesman for the Central Mosque said that Muslim’s also have the right to summon worshippers.
Dr Mark Huckster, who lives in Stanton Road and works at East Oxford hospice Helen House, told the Oxford Mail: “The proposal to issue a prayer call is very un-neighbourly, especially in a crowded urban space such as Oxford.
“I have lived in the Middle East and a prayer call has a very different feel to church bells and I personally found the noise extremely unpleasant, rather disturbing and very alien to the western mindset.”
He added: “If an evangelical Christian preacher proposed issuing sermons three times a day at full volume there would be an outcry.
“There could be a sense of ghettoisation of East Oxford. Cowley Road would have a Muslim flavour and could become a Muslim ghetto which is contrary to what we want in a multicultural society.”
Dr Huckster was among six residents speaking in opposition to the plans, revealed in the Oxford Mail in November.
Allan Chapman, who lives in East Oxford, said: “We are concerned with civil liberties and civil peace and the right to be able to live in our own space.
“I do not want preaching at. It is not the tradition of this country or the tradition I subscribe to.
“I find this totally, utterly unacceptable and I plan to do whatever I can to stop it.”