Palestinian flags, mosque_311.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Dozens of activists took to the streets Saturday in cities and towns across the
country to protest against a bill that would lower the volume of the Muslim call
to prayer, calling it is an “assault on Islam and Christianity.”
gathered in Tel Aviv- Jaffa and in Sakhnin in the Galilee to protest what they
called an Israeli attack on the Arab minority, and the “exploitation of religion
to start religious wars in the region,” according to Israeli- Arab news site
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They held signs that read “your racism is nasty and disgusting,”
and “we deplore the assault on Islam and Christianity.”
Bill” has support from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister
Avigdor Lieberman. It would ban the use of loudspeakers to project the
call to prayer.
The bill would also affect church bells and any other
loud noise emanating from houses of prayer.
Israel Beiteinu MK Anastasia
Michaeli, who drafted the legislation, said on Saturday that many of those
protesting the bill had not read it in its entirety.
Speaking to Israel
Radio, Michaeli said that she respected the Islamic tradition of prayer, and
that the bill was not aimed at any religious institution but rather at limiting
noise pollution and improving people’s quality of life.
The issue is the
proximity of mosques to residential areas throughout the country, including in
the Center, she said.
The MK said that she has been “attacked” via her
e-mail and Facebook accounts as a result of the bill, and that her family
members have been “threatened.”
Michaeli did not detail what kinds of
threats her family had received, but said she was considering going to the
Michaeli said the call to prayer disturbs many people living
close to mosques, especially when the first of the five daily prayers is
announced shortly before dawn.
The proposed law is one of several bills
sponsored by lawmakers on the Right that have attracted foreign criticism by
those who say Israeli democracy is under attack.
Knesset Speaker Reuven
Rivlin (Likud) said that such bills, including one that would limit foreign
government funding to political NGOs and another that would increase the libel
penalty sixfold, are “declaratory, and are not going to become real
A vote on the “Muezzin Bill” set to be held by the Ministerial
Committee for Legislation on Monday was delayed for two weeks.
Knesset approve the bill, Israel would not be the first Middle Eastern nation to
pass a law that seeks to control noise pollution from the call to
A law to control the idhan was passed in Cairo in 2010, where the
city’s thousands of independent muezzin’s made the call at roughly the same
The Egyptian Religious Ministry implemented legislation that
combined the idhan to a single radio broadcast.Jeremy Sharon contributed
to this report.