German Mosque Sounds 1st Public Call to Prayer Amid Protests by Ex-Muslims

Cologne Central Mosque in Germany has always sounded the adhan (Muslim call to prayer) inside the building. On October 14, the mosque used two outside loudspeakers for the first time.

One of Germany’s largest cities and home to more than 120,000 Muslims, the public call to prayer is the result of a two-year trial deal made with authorities, in which the Friday call would last less than five minutes and at a noise level pre-authorized according to its location. Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France.

The city’s prominent landmark is the Cologne Cathedral, the largest Gothic church in northern Europe and a UNESCO site. In negotiations with the Turkish Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, which runs the mosque, Mayor Henriette Reker said the city’s many German-born Muslims are a firmly established part of society. “If we also hear the call of the muezzin in our city alongside church bells, that shows that diversity is appreciated and lived in Cologne,” she said.

Thirty-five other mosques in the city are also allowed to participate. Each mosque must appoint an official to deal with the public adhan’s requests and complaints.

Senior mosque official Abdurrahman Atasoy said that Muslims are now “out of unseen and unpleasant backyard mosques into the fold of society,” the core message of this long-awaited victory. “We’re very happy,” he added.

About twenty protesters showed up for the event holding signs across the street reading “No Muezzin call in Cologne!” and “Public space should be ideologically neutral!”.

Director of the Frankfurt Research Center on Global Islam, Susanne Schroeter, said that she worries that this could be seen as a win for Islamist hardliners and a signal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who inaugurated the mosque in 2018.

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