Turkey slams Israel’s partial ban on call to prayer
AA photoPresidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın called on Israel to act with “common sense” over the initial approval of a draft law that will silence the Muslim call to prayer at certain hours, saying “the response of the Muslim world will be loud and clear.”
“To begin with, I want to say it is a very worrying development. Above all, it is a violation of the right to freedom of worship,” Kalın stated in a press conference on March 9.
His comments came after the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, gave initial approval of a draft law banning the call to prayer from loudspeakers from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and possibly even at all times in residential areas, in Israel and in East Jerusalem, the annexation of which by Israel is not recognized internationally.
While right-wing parties say the bill will improve the living standards of people living near mosques, the opposition says it will violate the religious freedom of Israel’s Muslim minority.
“The call to prayer has been conducted in Jerusalem for hundreds of years. The draft bill that plans to prohibit the summons after 11 p.m. from loudspeakers will upset and hurt all Muslims in the world, and Muslims’ response will be very loud and clear,” Kalın said.
“We hope Israeli politicians will grasp the delicacy of the issue and understand that it is not only a matter of the Palestinians, but a matter that directly concerns the entire Islamic world,” he added, calling on Israel to abandon “an implementation that would only cause provocation and hostility.”
Top cleric Görmez criticizes approval
Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) head Mehmet Görmez also criticized the Knesset’s initial approval as “unacceptable.”
“Unfortunately, they have banned the call to prayer in Jerusalem. Prohibiting the call to prayer is a denial of the existence of Islam and Muslims in that land. To ban the call for prayer in Jerusalem, which is the biggest center, sanctuary and sacred place of Muslims after Macca and Medina, means banning the entire existence of Islam and Muslims in those lands throughout history,” Görmez said in Gaziantep on March 9.
“It is unacceptable. Grand symbols and signs cannot disappear through such prohibitions,” he added.