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German city defends ban on muezzin calls

WEINHEIM. The Baden city of Weinheim has defended its ban on calling the local Muslim community from the muezzin. The city is in opposition to the opinion of the mosque association, according to which the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion also includes the Islamic call to prayer, the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung quoted a spokesman. "We see it fundamentally differently." According to the "clearly formulated position in the mosque commission and in the municipal council, no other position of the city administration is possible".

The administration also contradicted the Turkish Islamic community's allegations that they deliberately delayed the Muslims' concerns. In a message from the association "unfortunately the facts presented do not correspond to the truth". For example, a meeting with the chairman Ishak Ünal did not take place because he “could not be reached despite numerous phone calls”. The building permit, in which a muezzin call had been excluded, was also signed by the board of the mosque association. The city affirmed that the document was "absolutely binding and non-negotiable".

"As Muslims, we cannot accept the didactic attitude"
“We cannot imagine that this clear statement was not understood.” However, according to “good democratic practices in Weinheim”, the city does not exclude the possibility of discussing the Muslims' wish for a call to prayer. The city now hopes that “the mosque association will return to objectivity in its statements”.

At the end of July, the city decided: "Loud prayers from the minaret of the Weinheim Mosque are still not permitted and will not be tolerated." Thereupon Ünal criticized the way city officials dealt with the Muslims. “As Muslims in Weinheim, we cannot accept the didactic attitude that we experienced at our meeting from our city or from the parliamentary groups.” “Anti-Islamic resentments” were used. "This damages the reputation of the mosque community!"

When he asked in April to be allowed to introduce the muezzin call "as a sign of solidarity with the approximately 8,000 Muslims living in Weinheim and the surrounding area", he received no response for three months. He also pointed out "that our congregation still has no intention of sounding the call to prayer from the minaret, although our Basic Law guarantees this".

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