Sunday, February 01, 2009

Azan - Muslim Call to Prayer

Why, oh why, do almost all stories involving something remotely Islamic, do they have to use the Azzan, the Islamic call to prayer, in the story?? Even when the call to prayer is not vaguely related to the story, as in the above link (which is for an NPR story about the Iraqi elections).

As a Muslim, I have to say it is rather annoying. This addresses a larger problem, the linking of cultural with religion (which are NOT the same thing!!).

In the above example, the story was largely about the Iraqi elections and the reduction of power of Mutaqada Al-Sadr, that is an Iraqi cultural/social thing, NOT an Islamic thing. There should be a difference made. And it is not only this instance but many times I've seen it, stories on Arab cultural items or worse, on Islamic terrorist pieces, but there goes the Azzan, playing in the background as the reporter narrates. I get that the Azzan makes for a great listening piece and it is very powerful to hear (especially if you are foreign to Islam and are hearing this call to prayer for the first time while covering a story), but truly I think this scared part of Islam, our call to prayer should only be inserted into a story when it is part of the story somehow. Thank you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right - it would lke putting church bells into every story involving a Christian. Have you thougt about writing NPR about it? Bet they'd be receptive.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Molly Malone said...

hmm. y'know, i'd never thought of it. frankly, i assume so many Muslim-heavy countries are either theocracies or mostly theocratic that playing the Azzan (thanks for the new word!) fits in with each aspect of the value-system. of course, i live in the western world and the images i've been fed my whole life about the middle east are 100% tied to the religions and religious conflicts. but you're right, there is a difference between a religion and the host culture, even when that host culture is is heavily influenced by, or claims to govern by that religion.

Citizen is right. both about the analogy and the action you should take. call NPR out on this crap.

6:28 AM  
Blogger mommanator said...

so true, I would never have known, keep educating us on your faith!

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is refreshing to know that these things are brought to the western attention as mommantor mentioned. I am sure there are a lot of open minded citizen's of this Country that will like to learn more about your religion minus the culture.
It is amazing how confused a religion can get when cultural nuainces are mixed, especailly middle eastern culture. How is Islam practised in other non Arab coutries? I hope sanity prevails.

How is Husband-hunting and Urdu speaking going?
Keep Focused on your goals.


9:32 AM  
Blogger Pax Romano said...

It's just like us Italians. Think about it. Watch a movie about Italian people (be it The Godfather or Moon Struck) and chances are there will be at least one scene set in an ornate Gothic church, because you know, Italian means Roman Catholic.

In an odd twist on both of these. Have you ever seen The Exorcist (in which of course, Catholicism plays a big role)? The opening scene takes place at an architectural dig in Iraq, and at one point the camera shows a group of men participating in the call to prayer.

Can't get away from it.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Citizen - hmm..writing NPR, that is a good idea.

Molly - Yes it is hard I agree when the host culture tries to steep so much of their social moors on religion. That is another thing that annoys me (sheesh my list is growing, lol).

Mommantor - my pleasure!

Austen - uh-oh, I haven't been very good with either of my goals, but thank you for reminding me, I shall get back on track, tak!

Pax - you are right, I guess in a way perhaps they are dumbing down things - still it is annoying and I'm glad others agree! ps, totally saw the exorcist, still scares me!

11:37 PM  
Blogger Merci said...

Rick Steves traveled to Iran recently, and did a beautiful program about the country and its' people - not just the problems with its government. I don't recall whether or not you ever heard the call to prayer during the program. If you did, it was in the appropriate context, as he did visit a mosque.

4:28 PM  
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