Mina Ahadi, the founder of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims, received death threats after protesting the broadcasting of the Muslim call to prayer. Authorities in Cologne, Germany, know too well that these are not empty threats and have placed Ahadi under police protection.
On Friday, October 15th, Ahadi and her group gathered in front of the Cologne Central Mosque to protest the broadcast. All 35 mosques, including the Cologne Central Mosque, were permitted to broadcast their call to prayer every Friday, from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM, for up to five minutes. The broadcast is part of the city council's agreement with the Muslim community in Cologne to ease restrictions.
The group's protest on October 15 was met with verbal attacks. Police were stationed in the area to prevent the potential violent response from the attendants of the mosque. A local news outlet, Humanistischer Pressedienst (HPD), reported that a journalist from Deutsche Welle, a state-owned broadcasting company, was attacked. After the protest, Ahadi's group of around 30 individuals realized that they needed to flee the area quickly. "Instead of taking the subway, we took taxis one by one," Ahadi said.
HPD also reported the online backlash of Ahadi's protest was intensified by Deutsche Welle's online broadcast, which included coverage in Persian and Arabic languages. "The verbal attacks, which already happened on-site, then continued in the virtual space," the report stated.
Days after the protest, Ahadi began receiving threats online, primarily through social media. One threat claimed that they had identified Ahadi's address. "Your last day will come! You whore will burn in hell," another threat stated.
Ahadi's friends advised her to contact the police to report the threats. Instead, she got a call from the police. "We'll come over to you," Ahadi said, referring to a call she got from Cologne's police department. Police cars are now stationed in the vicinity of her house.
The Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain (CEMB) launched an online signature campaign to support Ahadi. In her statement provided to the CEMB, she said that "the fight against the Azaan is a fight against the Islamist movement and a defense of secular spaces." "Azaan, which is intrinsically linked to Islamist suppression in places like Iran, cannot be allowed to occupy the public space," she added.
Writer’s note: One of the sources of this article was translated to English from German via Google Translate. To visit the original article in German, please visit this HPD’s article about Ahadi, here.