Cairo: Egyptian actress Shereen Reda, known for her unorthodox views, sparked a massive uproar after she lashed out at some muezzins, saying their unpleasant voices scare children and foreign tourists.
“The voice of some muezzins is so noisy, and rumbles,” the 49-year-old actress said this week.
“The disturbance caused by such muezzins has nothing to do with Islam,” she told private television station On E.
The Islamic call to prayer or adhan is recited five times a day by a mosque leader in order to invite the faithful to prayer. In Egypt, the adhan is usually called out on the loudspeaker.
Some years ago, authorities unveiled a plan to synchronise adhan in the country. The plan was never set into motion.
“The decision to unify the call to prayer must be implemented because there are muezzins whose voice makes humans become infidels,” Shereen said.
Her remarks have led to scathing criticism on social media, with some commentators branding her an apostate.
Member of Parliament Hany Morgan accused the Muslim actress of insulting the adhan and vowed to sue her.
“The muezzin has lofty status and Allah will highly reward him,” Morgan said in a statement. “The muezzin should not be insulted in this way, especially given that Egypt is an Islamic country.”
A few people sided with the actress, though. They said her remarks targeted the disagreeably voiced muezzins without insulting Islam.
The Ministry of Waqfs, which is responsible for mosques in Egypt, also defended Shereen.
“We understood the actress’ remarks. What she said may reflect excessive jealousy over Islam,” Jaber Tayah, a senior official in the ministry, said.
He added that the ministry had closed around 20,000 small prayer halls across Egypt because they were located near large mosques.
The official explained the plan for unifying adhan was abandoned after related transmission devices were stolen from mosques in the unrest that erupted in 2011.