Sunday, October 25, 2009

Proverbial Chutney

Mullah Issues Fatwa Against Annoying Animal

Ali Kuckamameh, a mullah in Tehran, has been so vexed by the repeated calls of a rooster in his neighborhood that he has issued a fatwa calling for its death. The rooster, whose owner calls him Bilal, annoyed Kuckamameh because its crowing would interfere with the mullah's early morning salat. As a mullah for a local mosque, Kuckamameh's role has to issue the salat, a call for prayer, to the faithful five times a day. Like most modern mosques in Tehran, the muezzin has the benefit of an electronic amplification system but Kuckamameh claims that the rooster's voice is "devilishly loud". "The rooster is interfering in my work and Allah's decree," said Kuckamameh,"and, therefore, he must die."

Bilal's owner, Mehdi Hassan, is terrified that one of Kuckamameh's faithful will carry out the fateful decree. "It is the nature of the rooster to crow,"said Hassan,"Allah willed it that way and I cannot stop Bilal from acting out his God-given nature?" Hassan admitted that he has considered giving the rooster sleeping pills to prevent him from crowing at the crack of dawn. "I'll do anything to save him,"said Hassan,"But I just don't know how I can afford sleeping pills for him for the rest of his life." A rooster can live up to 12 years and Hassan ekes out a living as a day-worker in the limestone quarries in the southern outskirts of Tehran.

To drown out the crows of Bilal at dawn, Hassan has built a special enclosure using wool and a cotton quilt to sound proof the cage. "It's tough,"admits Hassan,"because Bilal doesn't want to stay cooped up in the cage. He's a free spirit." If the enclosure proves ineffective, Hassan's other plan is to corral the rooster into a dark room until the morning call to prayers have passed.

Hassan admits that he has made efforts to pacify the irate mullah. "I offered him 40,000 Rials (approx. $ 4 USD) to upgrade Ali Kuckamameh's speaker system, but he insisted that I get rid of my rooseter instead," said Hassan.