The Palestinian Authority is furious over a proposed law that would prohibit places of worship from using a loudspeaker system, and threatened to take Israel to the UN Security Council.
A Hamas representative called the bill “a dangerous and provocative development. Any interference on the part of the Israelis will be met with disaster. No one is allowed to interfere with our religious rituals.”
On Sunday, the “Muezzin Law” was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. The law was initiated by MK Motti Yogev (Jewish Home) and other Knesset members, and came after Israeli citizens complained about the disruption to their quality of life and daily activities that the muezzins blasting on loudspeakers in neighboring towns and adjacent neighborhoods were causing them. The proposal still has to pass the legislative procedure before it becomes law.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas warned Israel of the “consequences” of passing the law, and told Israel the law would cause a “disaster.”
Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Roudina, said the PA would turn to the UN Security Council, as well as other international bodies.
PA “property minister” Yousef Adeais also spoke about the law, saying it would threaten the entire region with a religious war, since the law “infringed” on “religious rights.”
“This is a decision saturated with extremism against the Muslim religion in Jerusalem,” he said.
He also said the law would not change the religious status quo in Jerusalem or religious rights there, but would only make the Muslims more committed to their holy places and cause them to redefine themselves culturally, nationally, and politically.
Former Fatah spokesperson Rafat Alian, who lives in Jerusalem, said Israel’s intention to forbid loudspeaker systems in mosques would cause a religious war with the Palestinian Authority and that he would join the fight.
Hamas, too, responded to the law with calls to pray in Jerusalem mosques, including Al-Aqsa, saying the new development was dangerous and changed both Jerusalem’s situation and that of its mosques, and erased the Islamic identity from Jerusalem.
“This is a forbidden interference in our culture and provokes Muslims’ emotions,” they said. “This law goes against laws and international art rights, which protect Muslims’ holy places and the religious rights of the Palestinians, as they were expressed in UNESCO’s latest decision.”
On Sunday, a preacher at Al-Aqsa said “anyone angered by the call of the muezzin noise should leave” the country.
Similarly, an Arab MK claimed flying the Israeli flag in Jerusalem’s Old City is a unacceptable since the city is Muslim and flying the flag is a violation of the international status quo. In addition the Joint List MK said “anyone who doesn’t like that or is irritated by the muezzin’s call to prayer can go back to their place of origin and not have to hear the muezzin.”
A Jerusalem resident who spoke to Arutz Sheva about the piercing noise pollution of loud calls to prayer at midnight and 4 a.m.remarked that Muslims have been praying since Islam appeared in the 7th century without the aid of electronic loudspeakers at full volume calling them to prayer.