Bill barring mosques from blasting call to prayer withdrawn

Muslims walking by the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s Old City, on their way to pray on the second day of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, Jun 30 2014. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)

Muslims walking by the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s Old City, on their way to pray on the second day of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, Jun 30 2014. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)

(JTA) – A bill that would bar mosques in Israel from broadcasting the call to prayer on loudspeaker systems was withdrawn by its sponsor.

Knesset member Moti Yogev of the Jewish Home party withdrew the bill on Sunday before the Ministerial Committee for Legislation was set to vote on it. He reportedly withdrew the bill after being unable to obtain support from lawmakers in the government coalition.

In addition to banning loudspeakers for prayers, which in mosques are held five times a day including before dawn, the bill would also prohibit “conveying religious or nationalist messages, or even words of incitement” through such broadcasts.

The law would apply to all houses of worship, but is widely viewed as targeting mosques, since churches and synagogues do not broadcast calls to prayer.

Yogev plans to add two changes to the bill that could make it easier for lawmakers to support: prohibiting the use of the loudspeakers during legal rest hours in the country and setting a decibel level threshold, according to Haaretz.

A similar ban was proposed in 2014 but failed to win the necessary support.

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