Prominent German Mosque Sounds First Public Call to Prayer, Met with Pushback

A prominent mosque in Germany broadcast the Islamic call to prayer for the first time publicly.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The Islamic call to prayer has been sounded publicly for the first time at Germany’s largest mosque.
  • “This is an important step in the perception of Muslim religious communities as part of society,” senior official Abdurrahman Atasoy said in a statement.
  • “That Muslims have arrived and been accepted with their representative mosques as a visible part and with the call to prayer as an audible part of society is the core message of this long process,” he said — one that, he added, has taken Muslims “out of unseen and unpleasant backyard mosques into the fold of society.”
  • Authorities in the German city of Cologne allowed for mosques to apply for permission for the muezzin to call for five minutes between noon and 3 p.m. on Fridays, with a noise limit being put in place for each mosque according to its location.
  • Several people demonstrated against the muezzin’s call by chanting and holding banners decrying the oppression of women in Iran, according to reports. One of the banners read, “No muezzin call in Cologne! Public space should be ideologically neutral.”
MUSLIM SENIOR OFFICIAL ON SOUNDING PRAYER PUBLICLY FOR THE FIRST TIME:

“We’re very happy,” Atasoy told reporters. “The public call to prayer is a sign that Muslims are at home here.”

BACKGROUND:
  • Prior to last week, the Muslim call to prayer was only recited inside of the mosque, and “heralds the beginning of a period of a few hours when a specific prayer must be performed.”
  • The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, or DITIB, said an agreement for a two-year trial of the call was made with the city of Cologne.
  • Cologne’s mayor said that by allowing the prayer demonstrates “diversity” is appreciated in the city, Aljazeera reported.