All 35 mosques in the German city of Cologne have been granted permission by the local government to publicly broadcast the Muslim call to prayer every Friday between noon and 3 p.m.
The green light to publicly broadcast the call to prayer was given by leftist Cologne mayor Henriette Reker, who took to Twitter to celebrate the move saying: ” Cologne is the city of (religious) freedom and diversity.”
“Those who arrive at the main station are greeted by the cathedral and accompanied by church bells. Many Cologne residents are Muslims. To allow the call to prayer is a sign of respect for me,” she wrote.
According to a report from the German tabloid Bild, the call to prayer will be allowed every Friday for the next two years but not everyone is as happy with the decision as the city’s mayor.
Integration expert Ahmad Mansour told the newspaper that the issue does not boil down to religious freedom or diversity, but explained that “The operators of the mosques want visibility. They celebrate the [call to prayer] as a show of force over their neighbourhoods.”
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Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) Deputy Secretary-General Florian Hahn also spoke out about the new policy, saying: “In Bavaria, we certainly do not want such pilot projects. They are not part of our Western tradition. Calls to prayer are also not needed for Islamic religious practice.”
The mosques in Cologne will, however, have limits on the volume of the call to prayer and must also notify their neighbours ahead of time and the broadcast itself cannot exceed five minutes between noon and 3 p.m. — at least in theory.
Cologne is known as a centre for Muslims in Germany, with a so-called mega-mosque in the city being opened by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in September 2018
The city is not the first in Western Europe to grant permission for a public call to prayer to local mosques. In the Swedish town of Växjö, for example, the local mosque was granted permission to broadcast the call on Friday afternoons in 2018.
PICTURES: Historic German Church Demolished as Mosques Multiply Across the Country https://t.co/MUG7YyCoYt
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