Muslim communities in Cologne, Germany will be able to summon their faithful to Friday prayers from the minarets of local mosques, the city authorities decided. However, the muezzins’ calls are subject to certain conditions. As the mayor of Cologne explained, it is a “sign of respect” for the city’s religious diversity.
120,000 Muslims live in Cologne (North Rhine-Westphalia), which is 12 percent of the population. “The cathedral city of Cologne now wants to allow calls for prayer from all 45 mosques as part of a pilot project,” the daily reported. “In order to counter the expected objections, the project was subject to a number of conditions” – added.
Initially, “the permit is limited to two years, the muezzin may summon the faithful only on Fridays between 12.00 p.m. and 3 p.m. for a maximum of five minutes, the volume of the call has been set at a different maximum level depending on the mosque’s location, local residents must be informed of this,” the mosque community must designate a contact person for questions or complaints, “the daily explained. A final decision will be made after two years.
Henriette Reker, mayor of cities, spoke about the “sign of respect”, about religious freedom and diversity. In her opinion, the Muslim call to prayer would join the sound of the bells of the cathedral in Cologne – the largest Gothic religious building in northern Europe.
Muslims in Germany
About 5.5 million Muslims live in Germany, a third of them in North Rhine-Westphalia. There are about 3,000 mosques, but only about one percent of them call the muezzin to pray over the loudspeaker. In 1985, the call of the muezzin was first heard in Dueren. The consent for this had to be obtained in court – wrote the daily “Tagesspiegel”.
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