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Israel approves bill banning Muslim call to prayer

Israeli stand guard outside Al-Aqsa
Israeli stand guard outside Al-Aqsa Mosque

Just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his support for the bill to ban the Muslim call to prayer, his government approved the bill, decided to move it to the Knesset, local media reported.

Israeli Jewish Home MK Moti Yogev proposed the bill, which Netanyahu’s office said the PM pledged to support, noting that the coalition government would discuss it during its weekly meeting.

Mosques broadcast the call to prayer five times a day, using loudspeakers. Since the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem in 1948, right wing Jews have been trying to ban it, claiming it causes unnecessary noise.

The statement of the Israeli PM said: “Israel is a state that respects the freedom of worship for all believers and it is committed to protecting those who suffer from noise which is caused by the loudspeakers.”

After the approval of the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation, the bill is moved to the Knesset. If approved, it will give power to the Israeli police to take measures against Muslims who use loudspeakers to call for prayers and take criminal actions against them.

Such legislation, to silence the call for prayer, has several times failed to get enough majority to be approved in the Knesset.

Commenting on the move, Arab-Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi said this is an attempt to change the culture and life in the occupied holy city.

“This is part of the culture of the Arabic city and had been there since before the Israeli occupation,” she said. “For those, who are not happy with it, they have to go back home to Europe.”

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