Friday, February 2, 2018

Germany: Court bans Mosques from call to prayer

(Oer-Erkenschwick)  A German court has ordered a mosque to stop broadcasting its weekly call to prayer over a loud speaker after a Christian couple who live a kilometre away complained.

The town of Oer-Erkenschwick first authorized the operation of a loudspeaker for the Turkish Ditib community in 2013 . Since then it has been used by the Mosque every Friday afternoon for public prayer calls. The couple in the town of Oer-Erkensnchwick, near Dortmund, said the Mosques call violated their religious rights.

What the complainant said: "It's a kind of vocal chant in a tone that has a disturbing effect on us. But we are mainly concerned with the content of the call. This puts Allah above our God of Christians. And as a Christian who grew up here in a Christian environment, I can't accept that,"

What their lawyer said: "This is not to be compared with the ringing of bells in Christian churches. That is a normal sound and the call of the muezzin is something more.

What the mosque said: "The call to prayer lasts for two minutes, just around 1 p.m., but only on Fridays," "We've never had any complaints and we have German neighbors who are much closer — just 10 meters away."

What the court said: The court found that officials had not properly consulted with the neighbourhood about the social acceptance of the muezzin's call during the loudspeaker permit process. It said officials had only considered the decibel level. The ruling did not agree with arguments that the call violated other listeners' religious freedoms.