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November 14, 2016 2:24 pm

Palestinians Slam Knesset Bill Barring Mosques’ Use of Loudspeaker Systems

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Israeli flags and Muslim minarets in Jerusalem's Old City. Photo: Dave Bender

The Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Photo: Dave Bender.

JNS.org – The Palestinian Authority (PA) warned Monday that a new Israeli Knesset bill that would bar public places of worship from using loudspeakers for calls to prayer may “drive the region to the brink of disaster.” The PA also said it would seek the international community’s assistance to make Israel repeal the bill.

The controversial proposal, dubbed the “muezzin bill,” passed its vote Sunday in Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation. Arab lawmakers said that because the bill focuses mainly on how mosques use such sound systems, it inappropriately targets Muslim worshippers.

PA official Adnan al-Husseini told the Ma’an News Agency that loudspeakers used in mosques in Israel comply with noise regulations, arguing that the bill is an attempt to erase Jerusalem’s Muslim identity.

The bill — sponsored by Habayit Hayehudi party MKs Moti Yogev, Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli and Betzalel Smotrich; Likud MKs Miki Zohar, Avraham Nagosa and Nurit Koren; and Kulanu MK Merav Ben-Ari — states that given the proximity of Jewish and Arab neighborhoods to each other in Israel, mosques’ calls to prayer five times each day affect residents for miles around the houses of worship.

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