More than 400 families in the remote village of Taljola recently sold their television sets with the belief that it corrupts society, pollutes minds and prevents Muslims from offering congregational prayers on time.
When Sheikh Abdul Hamid Ibrahim, Imam of the Masjid, found that the villagers have been negligent in offering prayers and pay their utmost time to watching films and different programs on their TV sets, he consulted the mosque committee and announced on the loudspeaker that watching vulgarity on TV is haram and they should sell all their TV sets to avoid the wrath of Allah, the Almighty. The villagers had no choice but to obey the Imam.
The decline in attendance for the daily prayers, especially among youth, forced the Imam to take note of the situation. His inquiries found that people preferred to stay at home and watch television programs instead of attending the Isha prayers at the mosque. Inquiries also revealed that the youngsters, both boys and girls, were spending hours watching sitcoms and films. Convinced that the television with countless channels was "spoiling the youth", the committee decided to ask people to get rid of their television sets.
Only an announcement on the mosque's loudspeaker did the wonder and people disposed of their TV sets at throwaway prices.
"The boys were not going to schools and several students were failing in their examinations. Hence, the parents decided to restrict them from watching TV," said the Imam.
Proceeds from the sale of the televisions, an estimated $1,300.00, were given to a local television cable operator who lost his job as a result of the decision.
The local police confirmed the turn of events in the village but said that nobody came forward to register a complaint.
"We are aware of the incident but we cannot take any action since the people claim that they have disposed off their TV sets voluntarily," said Subhash Khaire, senior inspector of the Taloja Police Station. "They (youth) were found watching cheap blue films over the cable rather than studying. It is a mutual decision. There is no tension in the village. In fact, neighboring Muslim villages still have cable connections."