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Israel's 'muezzin bill' given preliminary approval

Thursday, March 9, 2017 1:04
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DEBKAfile was founded by a team of journalists in June 2000 as an independent Internet Web site, providing an intelligence and security news service. March 9, 2017, 9:44 AM (IDT)

Israel’s parliament on Wednesday gave preliminary approval of a bill limiting the sound level of muezzin calls to prayer from mosque loudspeakers. The bill says hundreds of thousands of Israelis have their sleep disrupted each day from the noise produced by the loudspeaker systems. Wednesday’s step came amid a heated debate with Arab lawmakers claiming the bill infringes upon religious freedom. Although the calls to prayer from such public address systems have been an issue for years, no previous Israeli government had addressed them.
Jordan’s information minister, meanwhile, claimed the muezzin law is violation of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty and Israel’s obligation to respect Jordan’s role regarding the Muslim holy sites in East Jerusalem.
However, major Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Indonesia as well as countries such as France, the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Switzerland have all restricted the use of loudspeakers by muezzin. 

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