Cologne’s mayor said allowing the muezzin call to be heard was “a sign of respect.” But Some are concerned over the involvement of Turkish Islamists at the mosque.
Germany is home to more than 5 million Muslims, accounting for around 6% of the population
Germany’s largest mosque will broadcast the call to prayer for the first time on Friday.
It comes as part of an agreement between the Central Mosque of Cologne and the city authorities.
“We’re very happy,” Abdurrahman Atasoy, general secretary of the Turkish government’s religious affairs authority in Germany, DITIB, which runs the mosque, said.
“The public call to prayer is a sign that Muslims are at home here,” he added.
Cologne mayor Henriette Reker said allowing the call to prayer was “a sign of respect” for the city’s many Muslims.
Cologne has more than 100,000 Muslim residents.
Mosque to comply with strict limits
The large mosque in the Ehrenfeld district will be the first in the city to send out the muezzin call to Friday prayers. Other mosques in the city have also expressed interest in taking part in the two-year pilot project.
Under the agreement, Cologne’s Central Mosque will be allowed to send out a single call to prayer over loudspeakers for up to five minutes on Fridays, between noon and 3:00 pm. The volume cannot exceed 60 decibels.
- COLOGNE’S CENTRAL MOSQUE: A TROUBLED SYMBOL OF UNITYInspired by a flower budThe building was designed with glass walls and a staircase accessible from the street, symbolizing openness to people of all religions. It features two 55-meter (60-yard) minarets and a dome of glass and concrete which appears to open like a flower bud.
Controversy over mosque’s funders
Cologne’s Central Mosque has been a flashpoint for anti-Muslim sentiment in the past and it has been denounced particularly over the involvement of DITIB.
Critics have accused the organization of spying on Turkish dissidents living in Germany.
Murat Kayman, who serves on the advisory board of the Alhambra Society, an association of liberal Muslims, welcomed the fact that the muezzin call was possible but he warned DITIB “stands for everything, but not for democratic conditions and freedom.”
lo/rt (AFP, EPD)