"As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk."
Man, that must have been irritating; although, in 2007, then-Senator Obama referred to the call for prayers as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”
Sure. Consider how well it seems to go over in Bern, Switzerland.
Now, if you think this is just European xenophobia, or worse (heaven forfend) "Islamophobia" rearing its ugly head, consider this -- the call for prayers can even be a contentious thing in (of all places) Cairo where now-President Obama spoke today. To the Muslim faithful, it may well be meaningful, spiritual, deeply moving and beautiful. But to the infidel ear, the full-volume broadcast of full-throated prayer calls amplified through loud speakers situated in towering minarets lording it over residential neighbourhoods can be jarring to say the least.
As for Europe? Well, the call for prayers is still running into some 'stubborn' resistance in Oxford -- political correctness be damned. On the other hand, the folks in Vlaardingen seem reverentially capitulatory. No word yet from the "youths" in Paris. But apparently, Paris Hilton thinks it's sexy.
Hey, here's a solution that might work for everyone. Get wrist watches and alarm clocks, dudes.