The muezzin’s call in the city of Jerusalem beckons the city’s sleeping populace with the shower of praise for an almighty God — but a new bill backed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to muzzle it in order to curb the volume of calls to prayer from mosques.
While the draft bill applies to all houses of worship, it’s being seen as specifically targeting mosques, prompting government watchdogs to cite the bill as a threat to religious freedom.
“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.
The Israel Democracy Institute, a non-partisan think-tank, has spoken out against the draft bill. On Sunday, one of their representatives accused Israel’s right wing of using the issue to gain political points, under the guise of improving Israelis’ quality of life.
“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,” wrote Nasreen Hadad Haj-Yahya in the Israeli newspaper Maariv.
This post originally ran on teleSUR.