A mosque in Germany’s Cologne broadcast the Muslim call to prayer (adhan) for the first time on Friday. (Watch the video)
“This a sign that Muslims are at home here,” Abdurrahman Atasoy, the secretary general of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) told reporters, and thanked the city administration.
Cologne is one of Germany’s biggest cities, and home to more than 120,000 Muslims, nearly 12% of the city’s entire population.
As part of a pilot project, the city administration allowed the Cologne Central Mosque to broadcast the call to Friday Prayers over loudspeakers, but on condition that the volume will not exceed 60 decibels.
Cologne’s Mayor Henriette Reker has been a strong supporter of the idea, but she has been heavily criticized by far-right parties.
“Cologne is a city of religious diversity and freedoms. Allowing muezzin’s call to prayer for me is a sign of respect,” she said earlier.
Germany’s Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but broadcasting calls to prayers from mosques have been contentious in some municipalities, due to different legislative frameworks.
Far-right politicians have long rejected proposals allowing mosques to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer over loudspeakers, claiming that this would be another sign of the “Islamization of Germany.”
A country of over 84 million people, Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin, according to official figures.
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