Loud outcry over Jerusalem’s plan to quiet mosques

Loud outcry over Jerusalem’s plan to quiet mosques

Mufti says move to lower volume of calls to prayer is meant to assert Jewish authority in the capital

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A Jerusalem mosque (Uri Lenz/Flash90)
A Jerusalem mosque (Uri Lenz/Flash90)

Jerusalem’s grand mufti on Sunday accused the Jerusalem Municipality of advancing legislation which would require mosques to lower the volume on loudspeakers as they call the faithful to pre-dawn prayers, and said only Muslims had the right to decide on such matters.

In a statement to the press, Muhammad Hussein claimed the municipality was deliberately targeting the city’s Muslim population in order to assert Jewish authority in the capital, the independent Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.

“Mosques in Palestine in general and in Jerusalem in particular have been targets of a vicious campaign by the occupation authorities,” the mufti said.

“The occupation authorities make light of all heavenly laws and international law as they follow a systematic plan designed to efface all Arab and Palestinian landmarks in Palestine and replace them with Jewish landmarks.”

His remarks came in response to an announcement by the municipality that it would assemble a task force to measure the noise levels of nearly two hundred mosques across the city.

According to the municipality, mosques with loudspeaker systems found to be exceeding legal volumes will be provided with advanced sound-screening systems in order to reduce the noise, Ynet reported.

The municipality will allocate NIS 200,000 ($57,000) for a pilot measuring of two mosques in southern Jerusalem later in March.

The high volume of the Muslim call to prayer has been a major point of contention in Jerusalem over the years. In the city’s French Hill neighborhood, Jewish residents recently threatened to blast heavy metal music in the direction of nearby Issawiyya in response to the Arab neighborhood’s allegedly noisy prayer sessions, Ynet reported.

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