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Israeli police oppose ban on call to prayer

The Israeli police have warned that the government's bill to ban the Muslim call to prayer could spark a backlash among Arab citizens and lead to extremist acts, Israeli news website Walla revealed on Sunday. The police argue that such a ban would undermine plans to penetrate Arab communities and reinforce the presence of officers therein.

"The issue of how mosques are treated is perceived as highly sensitive in the Arab sector," an internal police assessment said, according to Walla. "It was decided not to treat the issue bluntly, especially in view of the fact that dramatic subjects, such as house demolitions, make it difficult to penetrate the Arab sector."

In recent weeks, Israel's ministries of public security and environmental protection have held several meetings to evaluate the bill, as well as law enforcement in Arab communities. Following this assessment, the Jerusalem Post reported that the police recommended employing stricter enforcement procedures on mosques in mixed areas that receive a high number of complaints.

Police data showed that 1,537 complaints against the Muslim call to prayer were filed between 2014 and 2016, including 1,261 complaints in occupied Jerusalem, Arabs48.com reported.

Instead of the bill to ban the call to prayer, the police assessment said that when there are complaints against a certain house of worship, the local authorities in the area should discuss the issue with community representatives and reach an understanding over the issue. If such discussions fail to reach a compromise, the police would enforce the law and impose fines, confiscate equipment and even prosecute the people involved if necessary.

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