A German couple is credited with winning a landmark court victory that bars Islamic calls to prayer from being broadcast on loudspeaker, the Daily Mail reported. The couple lives almost a mile from the mosque in question.
The ruling is believed to be the first of its kind in Germany, where “millions of Muslims and numerous mosques" use loudspeaker systems to call people to worship, according to the Daily Mail.
When did all of this start?
In 2014, leaders in the town of Oer-Erkenschwick in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, gave the mosque permission to use the loudspeakers for calls to prayers on Friday. The next year, residents Hans-Joachim Lehmann, 69, and his wife won an injunction to stop the broadcasts.
The couple said the Muslim messengers violated their religious rights, according to the Daily Mail. But still the mosque continued broadcasting the Friday prayers.
“It's a singsong in a key that's annoying for us. But we are mainly concerned with the content of the call,” Lehman told the Daily Mail. “This represents Allah over our God of Christians. And I cannot accept that as a Christian who grew up here in a Christian environment.”
In court, Lehman’s lawyers argued that, “The prayer, the Adhan, contains phrases like: 'Allah is great. I testify that there is no deity but Allah.' This is an exclusively Islamic claim at the expense of other religions.”
After the injunction was awarded, a member of the local government refused to revoke the permit because it was based on "socio-critical and political motives," the report said. No previous court rulings were made based on how the loudspeaker broadcasts affected people so the judge in the case decide to stop the practice.
How did the mosque respond?
Huseyin Turgut, a leader at the affected mosque, said he was disappointed with the court’s decision.
“The call to prayer lasts for two minutes, just around 1 p.m., but only on Fridays,” he told the Daily Mail.
He said no complaints were received from residents living much closer to the mosque.
“Anti-Muslim sentiment and support for anti-immigration policies are growing in many parts of Germany after the influx of well over a million migrants from Iraq, Syria and other mostly Muslim countries, beginning in 2015,” according to the Daily Mail.