Germany: Cologne govt allows Friday Azan over loudspeakers

Berlin: Municipal authorities in Germany allowed the call to prayer over loudspeakers for Friday prayers in Cologne, which has a large Muslim community, Anadolu agency reported.

The call to prayer, known in Arabic as the Azan or Adhan, will be carried out under a two-year pilot project.

The mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reeker, explained that the municipal council made the decision based on requests from the Muslim community in this regard as part of a two-year pilot project. The call to prayer can be raised through loudspeakers within the scope of certain rules.

“Our Muslim citizens are an integral part of our city. Hearing the call to prayer next to church bells in our city shows that diversity is appreciated in Cologne and that diversity is here,” the Anadolu agency quoted Henriette.

Certain rules regarding Friday prayers to be held in Cologne

  • Under the pilot scheme‚Äôs rules, the duration of the call to prayer will not exceed ten-minutes, and the call to prayer through the loudspeaker will not be very loud.
  • There will be a person responsible for each mosque where the call to prayer is broadcast, to answer questions and assess potential complaints.

It is noteworthy that Germany has more than 900 mosques belonging to the Turkish Islamic Union alone.

Earlier in the year 2018, German court ordered mosques’ to stop broadcasting its weekly call to prayer after the complaint of a Christian couple who live about a kilometer (0.6 miles) away.

The couple in the town of Oer-Erkenschwick, near Dortmund, said the muezzin’s call violated their religious rights.

Although it was allowed in the capital, Berlin, last year to raise the call to prayer during the period of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to raise the morale of citizens, the authorities decided at a later time to ban the call to prayer on the pretext of not praying in mosques.

What is Azan/Adhan?

The call to prayer, known as Azan or Adhan, is issued by mosques five times a day. The call is sung by the muezzin, whose chief role is the call to prayer. The call summons Muslims to prayer as well as communicating a summary of Islamic beliefs.