Residents of a village in Gading Serpong, Tangerang swarmed a nearby housing complex in retort over an alleged protest against a loud mosque.
Sangereng village residents reportedly crowded the Il Lago Paramount housing complex on Wednesday, after they heard that a driver identified as 43-year-old MR, who works for an Il Lago resident, asked for the caretakers of a local mosque to redirect their loudspeaker away from the residential area. According to reports, MR went to see the caretakers at the request of his employer, who had been regularly disturbed by the loud noise coming from the mosque.
The employer’s house and the mosque are separated only by a road.
“[The employer, through his driver, wanted to tell] the mosque caretakers that he was always tired after work, and the loudspeaker was facing his home, so he asked for it to be turned around. But what MR told the mosque caretakers was different, he said that his boss was disturbed [by the noise],” South Tangerang Police Chief Iman Imanuddin said.
However, MR’s boss denied saying any of that to the police, let alone ordering his driver to convey his complaints.
Meanwhile, a neighborhood unit (RT) chief and one of the mosque’s caretakers, Abdul Haer, said they met with MR following the alleged complaint. With no satisfactory outcome from the meeting, the story of the alleged complaint quickly spread to Sangereng villagers and stoked their anger.
A couple of clips showing a crowd of villagers swarming Il Lago’s entrance has been widely circulating on social media.
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With dozens of people at the scene, the crowd was dispersed by police officers and members of the military. Authorities assisted in mediating the issue, leading to an apology video from MR, in which he admitted to being bothered by the loudspeaker.
“Maybe because I felt overwhelmed at that time, so I asked them to move the loudspeaker a bit,” MR said in the video.
This incident bears similarities with what happened to Muslim fashion influencer/actress Zaskia Mecca in late April, when she complained about a loud mosque near her house. Zaskia posted a video showing her neighborhood mosque serving as a morning alarm for suhoor (early morning meal Muslims eat before fasting), for which the man behind the mic took a rather boisterous approach to the wake up call.
Zaskia’s post became hugely viral and divisive, with many supporting her on the grounds that Islam is supposed to bring universal grace to all, while others accused her of denigrating tradition from her high horse.