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Israel to Consider Legislation against Loudspeakers in Mosques

Al-Aksa Mosque, Courtesy GPO, Amos Ben Gershom
Al-Aksa Mosque, Courtesy GPO, Amos Ben Gershom

JERUSALEM, Israel – The Palestinian Authority is up in arms over legislation that would require mosques to tamp down their loudspeakers during the Muslim call to prayer, broadcast five times daily from mosques and Islamic centers.
On Sunday, the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved what's been dubbed the "Muezzin Law," making it eligible for consideration by the full Knesset.
Both Hamas, the Palestinian faction ruling the Gaza Strip, and Fatah, the party of acting P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, threatened repercussions should the legislation pass.
Some P.A. officials say the legislation interferes in the freedom of worship, saying it inflames the sensibilities of all Muslims.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said residents who are subject to the ear-piercing loudspeakers have a legitimate complaint.
At the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu told ministers the bill to restrict the noise level deserves consideration.
"Both Muslims, Jews and Christians suffer from this," Netanyahu said. "I cannot count the times that civilians have approached me from all parts of Israeli society, from all religions, with complaints about the noise and suffering caused them by the excessive noise coming to them from the public address systems of houses of worship," Netanyahu said.

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