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UN invokes human rights on Israel's bill banning Muslim call to prayer

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.

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.

Turkey: Israeli ban on call to prayer 'insult to Jerusalem and its history'

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