Saudi journalist Mohamed Al-Suhaimi said he was in favor of silencing microphones in mosques, saying that the “terrifying” sound of the adhan call to prayer “coming from all directions” bothers people in prayer, scares children and causes anxiety.

“The group of people using the microphones is hostile to our state,” and they have their own agenda—one of “extremism, fear and intimidation,” he told the Saudi MBC TV channel on Feb. 18.

Al-Suhaimi called for a reduction in the number of mosques in the kingdom, saying “there is a mosque for every citizen in our country.” He sarcastically suggested that mosque attendance be encouraged by raffling off the JMC trucks of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice among those attending the dawn prayers.

In the wake of these remarks, Saudi media reported that the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information had banned Al-Suhaimi from writing in newspapers and appearing in the media, and had demanded that he appear before an investigative committee.