The Royal Ontario Museum has issued a statement following a report that the adhan (the Muslim call to prayer) was broadcast loudly over the Royal Ontario Museum’s PA system, followed by an announcement inviting visitors to join in prayer.
“What was heard was three minutes of an audio art installation called A Time to Hear for Here by acoustic architect and composer John Oswald,” the statement read. “Neither the Museum nor the artist is making any religious statement with this installation.”
The museum said that the adhan was part of the audio art work that features approximately 7000 sound events, including a version of the adhan (the call to prayer) performed by Sashar Zarif.
“There is no announcement for visitors to gather and pray in the Museum at any time,” the ROM reiterates in its statement..
ROM says that the work of art plays in the Thorsell Spirit House every day and is distributed through the 35 speakers. It was installed in June 2007 with the opening of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal.
“The ROM clearly understands its role as an agency of the Province of Ontario and does not promote any particular religion, but is respectful of the diversity of faith,” says Janet Carding, Director and CEO. “As a Museum of World Cultures, however, we often discuss religions, faith-related customs, sacred objects and ceremonies.”