The Ministry of Internal Security has threatened to sanction places of worship that disturb public peace with noise from their loud speakers. The Minister for Internal Security, Sheikh Musa Fazil Harerimana, issued the warning Wednesday at a meeting of religious based organisations and security organs in Kigali. The meeting was aimed at devising means to reduce noise pollution originating from places of worship. It was attended by over 500 religious leaders from the three urban districts that make up the City of Kigali. “Freedom of worship as provided for in the Constitution should not impend public rights,” Harerimana said. “The biggest problem is using loud speakers during worship. I have read both the Bible and Quran, I did not find anywhere Jesus or Muhammad used loud speakers,” he added. According to a report from Rwanda Governance Board, Kigali City has over 500 registered religious based organisations. ACP Tony Kuramba, the deputy commissioner of CID and director of Interpol, Rwanda, cited a number of churches around the city that are operating below minimum safety and hygiene requirements as well as those that are producing “too much noise.” The churches include; Redeemed Gospel Church-Nyakabanda, Abakurikiye Yesu, Shiloh Prayer Mountain, ADEPR Kimisagara, Patmos of Faith-Kimisagara, and Horebu Holy Church-Kimisagara, among others. Deputy Commissioner General Dan Munyuza, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in Charge of Operations, said noise pollution is a serious concern among the public. “Most of the complaints we have received in the recent past are about noise pollution. Many people tell us that they no longer sleep because of the noise emanating from churches,” Munyuza said. According to article 600 of the Penal Code, any person found guilty of making noise in a way that troubles people, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of between eight days and two months or a fine ranging from Rwf50,000 to Rwf1 million, or both. Fidel Ndayisaba, the Mayor of the City of Kigali, while talking about safety and hygiene in worship centres, said: “It is good to worship, but it is also good to worship from good places.” “When many people are gathered in one place, it is possible that even Satan would come in, hence causing insecurity and other risks. You have to put in place, among other things, toilets, soundproof systems, as well as fire-free fighting mechanisms in premises,” Ndayisaba told the religious leaders. The meeting resolved that no place of worship should produce sound that goes beyond its perimeters. Bishop Juma Marcel, from the Pentecostal Church in Gitega, Nyarugenge District, said they should be given grace period to implement the resolutions. “Hon. minister, closing churches that do not meet minimum standards is not a solution. We ask you to give us enough time to implement these resolutions,” Marcel said. Responding to the request, Minister Harerimana insisted that noise pollution should be controlled. Dr Rose Mukankomeje, the Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (Rema), urged religious leaders to heed the advice. According to Rema, noise pollution is determined when sound goes beyond 80 decibel (db). Bell is the unit used for measuring noise. “Eighty db is the level at which sound is physically painful and can be termed as noise,” noise regulations read in part. Resolutions from the Dialogue lReligious based organisations operating without certified documents to stop operation with immediate effect. lNoise that goes beyond religious organisations’ premises to stop with immediate effect. lReligious leaders to continue partnering with security organs in the campaign to fight human trafficking and drug abuse. lSimilar meetings to be held after every six months. lEvangelism to be done in proper order, and in designated places.