Israel PM backs bill to limit Azan

By AFP
Published: November 14, 2016
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The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the so-called “muezzin bill.” PHOTO: AFP

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the so-called “muezzin bill.” PHOTO: AFP

JERUSALEM,: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he backed a bill limiting the volume of calls to prayer from mosques, a proposal government watchdogs have called a threat to religious freedom.

Netanyahu, speaking before a ministerial committee adopted the draft bill, said he would support such a move that some have labelled unnecessarily divisive.

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The bill now faces three readings in parliament before becoming law.

Israeli media reported that the bill would stop the use of public address systems for calls to prayer.

“I cannot count the times — they are simply too numerous — that citizens have turned to me from all parts of Israeli society, from all religions, with complaints about the noise and suffering caused them by the excessive noise coming to them from the public address systems of houses of prayer,” Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

While the draft bill applies to all houses of worship, it is seen as specifically targeting mosques.

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Israel’s population is roughly 17.5 percent Arab, most of them Muslim, and they accuse the Jewish majority of badly discriminating against them.

East Jerusalem is also mainly Palestinian and traditional calls to prayer by muezzins through PA systems can be heard in the city.

The Israel Democracy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, has spoken out against the proposal.

On Sunday, one of the watchdog’s officials accused Israel’s right-wing politicians of dangerously using the issue to gain political points under the guise of improving quality of life.

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Nasreen Hadad Haj-Yahya wrote in Israeli newspaper Maariv that “the real aim” of the bill “is not to prevent noise, but rather to create noise that will hurt all of society and the efforts to establish a sane reality between Jews and Arabs”.

Netanyahu heads what is seen as the most right-wing government in Israeli history.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Muhammad Ali
    Nov 14, 2016 - 10:46AM

    It’s not noise. It’s Azan/Sound . Make your words correct editor. Recommend

  • rich
    Nov 14, 2016 - 10:51AM

    Israel is right in this case

    too much noise early morning

    india should follow suit

    u can pray but without disturbing others, that is for all hindus, muslim, Christian, Sikhs ect

    should not make it religious issue but social issueRecommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Nov 14, 2016 - 11:39AM

    Even in some Arab countries a system is in place to have the recording of an azan from just by one person to be played over the PA system for one week, the next week someone else is recorded and played etc. This to avoid the cacophony of sounds and bring some sort of uniformity in the message. Recommend

  • Raw is War
    Nov 14, 2016 - 11:42AM

    @Muhammad Ali:

    one and the same.Recommend

  • yas
    Nov 14, 2016 - 5:42PM

    Why too many indiots are here .. u better run to bankRecommend

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