Sir - Derek Bhowmick-Shepherd writes to express his anxiety about the call to prayers at Oxford's central mosque disturbing the sleep patterns of local people (Letters, January 16).
The proposal put to the city council asked for permission for a call to take place no more than once a week at the time of Friday prayers (1.30pm) and the range of the amplified call would not be nearly as far as feared.
The example from another part of the world of an authorised radio frequency on which broadcast reminders to congregational members of their prayer-times is already used in part by at least two of east Oxford's five mosques.
But what a gain to the local culture it would be to make the minaret operational and have this once-a-week, two-minute reminder in classical Arabic of divine greatness.
The main issue is whether the right to call for prayer exercised by Christian churches can be extended to another faith community. With clear guidelines on noise pollution, such a move would be nothing less than an expression of mature, vibrant society.
Many other cities in Britain and throughout the world make provision for different calls to prayer to exist alongside each other.
What's so different and difficult about Oxford
Canon David Partridge, Central Mosque, Oxford
It was bad enough when the Bishop of Oxford came down in support of the mosque, but what is even more interesting is that Canon David Partridge, a retired Anglican vicar, gives his actual address as being Oxford's Central Mosque.
Cranmer was wondering why none of Oxford's 'interfaith' Muslim leaders give their address as Christ Church.
Perhaps there is no better riposte than that made by Lord Tebbit in The Spectator:
Sir: Charles Moore (The Spectator’s Notes, 12 January) contemplated the banning of church bells in Oxford by politically correct cowards unwilling to turn down the application for the use of artificially augmented calls to prayer from the mosque.
I cannot understand what all the fuss is about. There is nothing in the Koran about the use of loudspeakers. There is nothing to prevent imams from competing with the noise of traffic and calling their prayers as imams did for many centuries. Of course, I would hope that the city authorities would indicate, as they turn down the applications for loudspeakers, that they would be likely to grant an application for bells to be rung from the mosque.
Rt Hon. Lord Tebbit CH
House of Lords, London SW1
Quite so, quite so.