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Israel’s ‘muezzin bill' threatens fundamental Muslim practices

Image used for illustrative purpose. A muezzin recites a call to prayer as Muslim Tatars sit in the Kebir-Dzhami mosque in the old town of Simferopol in the Crimean peninsular, March 14, 2014. Earlier this month, Tatars of Ukraine's Crimea came out in their thousands, chanting Allahu Akbar in a show of loyalty to the new authorities in Kiev and opposition to separatist demands by the region's Russian ethnic majority. But now, with Moscow's military forces having unexpectedly seized control, the indigenous Muslim people of the isolated Black Sea peninsula have all but vanished from the public square, keeping their heads down to avoid being sucked into war. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Image used for illustrative purpose. A muezzin recites a call to prayer as Muslim Tatars sit in the Kebir-Dzhami mosque in the old town of Simferopol in the Crimean peninsular, March 14, 2014. Earlier this month, Tatars of Ukraine's Crimea came out in their thousands, chanting Allahu Akbar in a show of loyalty to the new authorities in Kiev and opposition to separatist demands by the region's Russian ethnic majority. But now, with Moscow's military forces having unexpectedly seized control, the indigenous Muslim people of the isolated Black Sea peninsula have all but vanished from the public square, keeping their heads down to avoid being sucked into war. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Reuters/Thomas Peter

Monday, Mar 13, 2017

Ramallah: A top Imam in Occupied Jerusalem has called on Muslim Muezzins (prayer callers) to ignore recent legislation in the Israeli Knesset which would ban mosques from calling prayer on loud speakers from 11:00pm to 7:00am

The “muezzin bill” received preliminary approval last week but it needs to pass two more Knesset hearings to become law.

In an interview with Gulf News, Shaikh Ekrima Sabri, said the bill threatens other fundamental practices of Muslims including the Taraweeh prayers which take place all night long in the holy month of Ramadan and the Takbir (God is Great) chants of the two Eid celebrations.

“Israel will never be able to silence the voices of the muezzins, who have been proudly calling prayer in Palestine for 15 centuries,” he said.

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Israel claims the bill is meant to prevent daily disturbances to the lives of Israelis but it has sparked outrage in the Arab and Muslim world.

The Higher Follow Up Committee has already held a demonstration to protest the bill and vows to organise more protests.

Palestinians living in the 1948 areas say they will install speakers on their own rooftops to transmit the Fajr call to prayer in defiance to bill.

Israeli former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said the true purpose of the law was to destroy ties between Jews and Palestinians.

“The muezzin bill is not meant to prevent noise, but rather to spread hatred,” she said, adding that the legislation was a “stain and grave attack on Israel’s social fabric.”

According to the Israeli Bureau of Statistics, more than 1.4 million Palestinians live in the 1948 areas, comprising 20 per cent of the Israeli population of 8 million.

Palestinian citizens of Israel are the indigenous people of Palestine who were expelled or forced to flee by invading Jewish militias in 1948.

After almost two decades of living under military rule, they were given Israeli citizenship, but continue to face what they say is systematic discrimination as a minority.

Shaikh Yousuf Edais, the Palestinian Minister of Islamic Affairs and Awqaf, warned that the Israeli bill would undermine the pillars of Islam, putting the entire region on the verge of a religious war.

“The bill badly harms the freedom of religion secured by all monotheist religions,” he said in a statement.

“It will make no real changes on the ground as Muslims will be even more devoted to their places of worship.”

He urged the international community to pressure Israel to trash the bill.

By Nasouh Nazzal Correspondent

Gulf News 2017. All rights reserved.

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