Saudis Interrogate Intellectual Who Complained About Mosque Construction 

Islam call to prayer
Chris McGrath/Getty

TEL AVIV — Saudi investigators and security forces have brought in author and intellectual Muhammad al-Sahami for questioning after he criticized the building of mosques and calls to prayer through Muezzin loudspeakers.

He made the comments during an interview he gave to Saudi television network MBC, igniting a firestorm from Islamists in the country and leading to his detainment and a ban on him giving any more interviews to Saudi media.

“The voice of the Muezzin scares the children,” al-Sahami said in the MBC interview. “Here a Muezzin and there another Muezzin. Why are so many mosques being built? Why is there a mosque in every neighborhood and on every street? The Prophet, may peace be upon him, destroyed a mosque because it was interfering with another mosque. There are too many mosques and less worshipers. We have a mosque for every resident. Why do we need this?”

Al-Sahami also criticized the sharia supervisory body, which he said tries to use the tools of fear and intimidation to bring people closer to religion.

“Religion isn’t spread through fear and intimidation,” he stated.

His comments ignited a firestorm on social media, which created pressure forcing the authorities to question him and forbid him from giving any more interviews.

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