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Turkey slams Israeli bill to reduce volume of call to prayer
Just days after Israel and Turkey appoint ambassadors to their respective countries as frozen diplomatic relations begin to thaw, Turkey's deputy prime minister describes bill as 'unacceptable.'
Turkey's deputy prime minister has criticized as "unacceptable" an Israeli proposal that would force mosque muezzins to reduce the volume of loudspeakers issuing their call to prayer.

 

 

Speaking following a Cabinet Monday, Numan Kurtulmus told reporters the proposal was contrary to religious freedoms and went against Jerusalem's historic multi-religious culture.

 

Kurtulmus said: "Bringing the restrictions on the call to prayer at Al-Aqsa and other mosques on the agenda is in no way acceptable." He was referring to the main mosque in Jerusalem.

 

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

 

His comments come as Israel and Turkey are preparing to exchange ambassadors as part of a reconciliation deal.

 

Supporters of the Israeli bill have argued that the issue is one regarding quality of life rather than any kind of attempt to curtail the religious freedoms of Muslims. However, Muslims and Arabs have vociferously voiced their opposition to the initiative, with some Arab MKs taking to the Knesset podium and imitating the calls to prayer which are blasted into the streets in the small hours of each morning.

 

The bill, tabled by MK Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) and Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), came a week and a half after demonstrations were staged by residents of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev who also emulated a muezzin call in front of the Beit Hakerem residence of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to protest ongoing disturbances caused by Muslim calls to prayer emanating from the Shuafat, Beit Hanina and A-ram neighborhoods.

 

Last week the Palestinian Authority also criticized the bill. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office warned of the ramifications of voting the bill into law and threatened to turn to the UN Security Council and other international organizations if this were to happen.

 

Jordan also issued a harsh response against the approval of the bill.

 


פרסום ראשון: 11.21.16, 19:30
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