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Monday, September 6, 2010

Calls for action as mobile phones disrupt religious festivals

As Ramadan - the Islamic month of fasting and praying – draws to a close, there are reports from Saudi Arabia that ringtones and mobile phone conversations are starting to disturb pilgrims at the Grand Mosque. A number of visitors have called for the installation of mobile phone jamming devices.

But it's not just Muslim worshippers who are using their mobile phones at inappropriate times. A couple of marketers in the USA have launched a campaign to encourage 'offlining' – regularly disconnecting from technology – and are running an advertising campaign that proposes the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur on 18th September 2010 as a 'No-Device day'.

In a statement on their website, Mark DiMassimo and Eric Yaverbaum said "We decided to strike a blow for mastery, with the aim of tilting the balance and putting humanity back on top where we belong. We’re not fundamentalists. We’re not anti-marketing. In fact, we love marketing and we respect its power, which is why we’re committed to applying our expertise to the important things. And we’re not anti-technology — on the contrary, we love technology and all it can do for us. But we’re only going to enjoy those benefits if we learn to use the Off Button."

The ad campaign uses images of Britney Spears, Mel Gibson and Tiger Woods, with references to mobile-related indiscretions. The Tiger Woods poster reads "You don't have to be Jewish to atone for your texts on Yom Kippur".

[Sources: arabnews.com; offlininginc.com]

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