UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson has stressed protection of freedom of religion after a preliminary move by Israeli MPs to limit the Muslim call to prayer – athan – through loudspeakers.
“Of course we want to make sure that the rights of all, including the religious rights of all, are respected,” Farhan Haq said Friday.
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He said the effort seemed to be in its early stages. “We’ll have to see what happens with this as it proceeds,” he added.
A spokesperson from Neturei Karta, an Orthodox Jewish organisation against Zionism, said the group is against the policy and is planning a protest in New York City to defend the athan.
Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, on Wednesday approved a preliminary reading of the controversial bill.
It would ban the use of loudspeakers to amplify the athan – in Israel and Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem – between 11 pm and 7 am
The bill proposes fines on violators ranging between the equivalent of $1,300 and $2,600.
Second and third readings of the draft law must still be approved by a majority of Knesset members before the legislation becomes law.