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Dubai: Saudi Arabia has issued directives to restrict the use of loudspeakers in all mosques across the Kingdom, local media reported.

Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Dr. Abdul Latif bin Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh has set the number of external loudspeakers at four which are only to be used in mosques to make the prayer calls.

Dr. Al Sheikh has instructed all Imams to remove extra loudspeakers, if any, from mosques and store them in a warehouse for later use or give away to mosques that do not have enough.

The minister's directives come almost two months ahead of Ramadan, which is expected to fall on March 23.

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Last year, the ministry issued restrictions on volume levels for loudspeakers at mosques during the fasting month. Speakers must not exceed a third of their maximum volume.

Officials at the ministry asked mosque staff to ensure they abide by the circular that limits the use of external loudspeakers for the first (adhan) and second (Iqamah) calls to prayer.

It also stressed that speakers cannot be used for additional prayers during the holy month, and banned the live transmission of prayers from mosques on all types of media during last Ramadan.

The ministry said that using external loudspeakers at a high volume could affect the vulnerable, the elderly and young children and drown out prayers held in nearby mosques.