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Phuket protesters begin to gather and the crowd has swollen to about 300

Phuket Residents Protest at Resort Over Loudspeaker Prayer Calls

Thursday, February 19, 2015
PHUKET: A crowd of more than 300 residents was protesting outside a resort on Phuket's Cape Panwa today in a dispute about loudspeaker announcements.

According to the crowd, the management of the recently renamed Phuket Panwa Beachfront Resort had written a letter of complaint about calls to prayer and local news being broadcaster by loudspeaker from a mosque nearby.

The management at the resort this morning however denied knowledge of any letter of complaint.

Phuket has more than 50 mosques and Muslim calls to prayer are generally tolerated across the holiday island, despite the rapid development of resorts.

Yuttapong Changlek, 43, a local spokesperson, said the mosque's loudspeaker was used for calls to prayer and only occasionally for urgent news.

Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkaosutthirak was engaged in mediation talks at the resort.

The property opened in June, 2012 as the Crowne Plaza Phuket Panwa Beach Resort

Comments

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I dont know about this one , but i stayed in a hotel on an Indonesian island that was near a mosque and the constant chatter from the loudspeaker meant that no matter how beautiful the island and its people were, i would never be going back to that hotel. Starts broadcasting before or at sunrise every day.

Posted by carvets on February 19, 2015 12:38

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Why is it not noise pollution ??

Laws do exist, they are just routinely ignored. But because they are ignored is not the fault of anyone who wished to see them enforced.

Posted by LivinLOS on February 19, 2015 13:40

Editor Comment:

It's not ''noise pollution'' because Muslims have been being called to prayer long before any resorts were planned for the region. However, there probably is a sensible decibel level on which people should be able to agree.

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Do they really hear prayer's call at that resort? Last time I was driving along Sakridet Rd. there and at the time of the call, the nearest loudspeaker is at the turn to Ao Makham.
And do they have early morning call..?

Actually as it is well known that the area is predominantly muslim, they should have when they acquired/developed hotel, and target certain markets as patrons , that loudspeakers are indeed can be heard at resort grounds.

Posted by Sue on February 19, 2015 13:48

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I would agree that the "call to prayer" is not needed in a society where people have Watches and can tell the time. Just like the local Churches in the UK, don't bellow out sounds and mornings that aren't needed. They just chime on the hour after 9AM.

Allowing anything to disturb people is wrong. No matter what the excuse, unless its life or death.

Posted by Tbs on February 19, 2015 14:02

Editor Comment:

That's why there are laws governed by decibel levels and if your neighbor peals bells too loudly, a measure of the decibel level will be a telling factor in application of the law. In this case, it's a complaint made to officials that should have been made to the mosque directly. And without supporting evidence in the form of an accurate measure of decibel levels, it will be treated - quite rightly - as an unreasonable complaint.

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In places like London Muslims and all others are not allowed to disturb the peace. Why should the minority force their wishes on the majority, especially before sunrise as in most places in Thailand, example Rawai Muslims are in the minority but yet the Mosques are so loud several times a day.

Posted by Feisty Farang on February 19, 2015 15:05

Editor Comment:

It may have escaped your attention but London is a large city without a long history of Islam occupation while Phuket's coast is filled with faithful Muslims. I daresay cathedrals and churches still peal bells in London, FF, although it probably troubles you to think about that kind of ''disturbance of the peace.'' Could it be that in Rawai, you are really the odd man out?

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Every Muslims must know their duty to prey five times and have to set their own alarm. Mosques must stop the noise pollution totally. Muslims must be given the choice whether to prey or not to prey. I believe not every Muslim prey 5 times a day

Posted by Choww on February 19, 2015 16:15

Editor Comment:

Unless the call to prayer exceeds acceptable legal levels, there is no cause for anyone to complain. What we know so far is that just one person has complained, without providing an accurate measure of the decibel levels. The word is ''pray,'' not ''prey.''

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It most certainly is noise pollution in the same way that any loud noise in the environment is noise pollution.,
Since Muslims know in advance the time of the prayers then why have any announcement by loudspeaker at all ?

Posted by Paul on February 19, 2015 16:38

Editor Comment:

Freedom to worship in time-honored ways is as deeply entrenched in Phuket as it is in the West. There is no law against prayer calls. Noise control is one of Phuket's untested issues. But there is no confirmation that anyone except the complainer had problems, and importantly, no measurement of decibels provided with the complaint.

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I doubt anyone is complaining about the traditional calling to prayer - more about the decibel level of modern day speakers. I am sure the faithful don't need reminding in any case - they know their calling.

Posted by Logic on February 19, 2015 16:49

Editor Comment:

The point is that the complainer went to officials rather than dealing directly with the local community, the resort's neighbors. That shows a lack of respect.

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I thought gathering of 5 or more people were not allowed under martial law; is this the beginning of street protests again and road blocks by tuk tuks?

Posted by JK on February 19, 2015 16:51

Editor Comment:

My understanding is that gatherings of five people or more for political purposes are prohibited. No cinema audiences have been arrested yet.

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" It's not ''noise pollution'' because Muslims have been being called to prayer long before any resorts were planned for the region."
The fact that you do are something a long time doesn't make it legal.

Posted by FS on February 19, 2015 16:53

Editor Comment:

Calls to prayer are not illegal, FS. The issue is about the level of sound. It's plain that resort managers/owners have more sensitive ears than the residents.

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Ed

The Muezzin using louspeakers are hardly traditional, he should call to prayer using only his voice and not amplified by a loudspeaker

Posted by christian on February 19, 2015 17:33

Editor Comment:

Loudspeakers have been around a lot longer than resorts, christian.

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Why did you ignore my other post about this subject?
Selective freedom of speach again?

Posted by FS on February 19, 2015 18:33

Editor Comment:

One of your two previous posts on this issue has been published. In the interests of objectivity and balance, I'd prefer to have a broad cross-section of views, not to repeat those of one person. Is it so difficult to put all of your thoughts in one post? The word, by the way, is ''speech.'' Anonymous online comments have little to do with any kind of freedom. Stop kidding yourself.

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In my neck of the woods (Sai Yuan in Rawai) the calls to prayer a few years ago were indeed imposing and sometimes reached frenzied proportions but happily things have calmed down nowadays. I think someone in the Muslim community must have had a word with the prayer-callers. Having said that I really do not have a problem with other people's faiths unless they threaten to break my eardrums - which does not seem to be the case here at Panwa.

Posted by Sam Wilko on February 19, 2015 19:04

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You ignored my first post (are you a christian?), my second post was about your reply to a comment which was later in time.

Posted by FS on February 19, 2015 19:23

Editor Comment:

Your first post was not ''are you a christian?''

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Determination and accurate measurement of acceptable noise levels is not easy to quantify for daytime activities.
A truck fully loaded and passing any property emits an unacceptable noise level but for only a limited time. Noise levels are not measured at any instant period but are time weighted and averaged across the audible frequency band to provide a measurement in dB(A).
Restrictions of daytime levels are almost impossible as they vary, any reading taken is a cumulative reading of other unrelated noises in addition to the target source.
In order to quantify what is an acceptable level to any individual area, long term time weighted readings have to be taken which form the basis of an assessed "daytime background noise level". An acceptable noise level is then specified as x decibels above this level.
The same applies for night hours but usually a lower base reference.
As noise is sound pressure waves at various frequencies the level at any location is dependent on many variable such as atmospheric conditions, reflection off structures and even amplification due to accumulation of reflective sound pressures.
Add to this, the annoyance level of any sound depends on the frequency as for example a high pitched low decibel reading will be far more annoying than a low pitched high decibel reading.
An authority when specifying what is an acceptable level has to determine the time weighted index so that any peak noise is averaged over the time period.
If measuring something like a machine with constant noise level and without external influence this may be simple to determine. To measure a isolated noise amongst other variable frequency noises and affected by many variable influences for the purpose of enforcement is almost impossible.
Local authorities in developed countries are unable to properly understand, address and enforce these types of issues so I doubt the knowledge exists to solve this particular issue.

Posted by Manowar on February 19, 2015 19:42

Editor Comment:

This particular issue has a chance of being resolved if the first rule of neighbors is followed: talk to each other.

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Land next a mosqe, karaoke, airport are not that high priced.
So you know that you can expected this.
So pls stop with crying.

Posted by baron on February 19, 2015 20:21

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Shut up the Or Bor Tor broadcasts too, please. Bunch of whining Thai ads at 90 decibals - hideous language.

Posted by Blue Floyd on February 19, 2015 23:10

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@Manowar

I completely agree, that to take a measure of a noise pollution at particular place &time and to have it as valid piece of evidence is really difficult.

Back to Europe, the constitutional court just nullified existing provision of a kind of adm penalty law provisions, and required that noise pollution to be measured for at least 30 minutes and using appropriate equipment.

Then police announced that they will not respond anymore to calls about excessive noise as they don't have such expensive equipment and qualified operators, so they will respond only when element of hooliganism is involved.

Posted by Sue on February 19, 2015 23:53

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World Health Organization has produced in 1999
"Guidelines for Community Noise", which are used also in Europe, also by authorities and courts:
http://goo.gl/zwIUVN

It sets in the section 4.3.1. teh maximum level of noise inside bedrooms 30dB.

Also it gives guidleines how to measure nosie level, various sources of noise etc.
My opinion is that level of noise from loudspeaker that distribute call for a prayer - and which to my subjective opinion, as I heard them few times, are on par with loud transportation noise - inside rooms of Panwa Beach do not exceed 30dB during 23-7 - otherwise also transportation noise would cause the same effect - that would mean that rooms simply need better soundproof design.

Posted by Sue on February 20, 2015 00:07

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The point is that the complainer went to officials rather than dealing directly with the local community, the resort's neighbors. That shows a lack of respect.

Or maybe it shows they are afraid.

Posted by sammy on February 21, 2015 18:46


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