Russian court fines Muslim cleric over early calls for prayer

A court in central Russia has fined a mosque cleric who called for prayers too early in the morning, thus disturbing children in their sleep.

The 500 rouble fine (approx $17) was imposed by a district court in the town of Orsk in Orenburg Region in the Southern Urals. The case has been forwarded to court after the cleric refused to comply with the decision of an administrative commission that had issued the same decision.

The commission found out that the cleric, who worked as an imam in the city mosque, used a loudspeaker to call for prayers every day, from 05:30 in the morning until 23:00. Local residents repeatedly complained that the calls woke up their sleeping children.

After the sentence was pronounced the imam assured everyone that from now on he will only use the loudspeakers from 07:00 in the morning, as is allowed by Russian law.