[A minaret with loudspeakers seen towering over the Mediterranean sea, near the Israeli town of Tel Aviv-Jaffo, November 15, 2014. (Nati SHohat/FLASH90)]
Jerusalem: The Israeli government passed a new bill on Sunday that forces Muslim mosques to lower the volume of the Adhan (call for prayer).
Adhan - the prayer calls, traditionally announced through minarets five times a day and often amplified with loudspeakers, have been a frequent target of right-wing ire, with some claiming they are an unnecessarily loud nuisance that echoes in Jewish towns and neighborhoods.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is "committed to defending those who suffer from the loudness of the excessive noise of the announcements."
The bill, however, was denounced by Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, head of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem.
"The Adhan [call to prayer] is one of the most important aspects of the Islamic faith," Sabri told Anadolu Agency.
"Israel has no right to interfere in our religious affairs,” he said.
There was a Jewish demonstration on Saturday in front of Interior Minister and Shas party chairman Aryeh Deri’s house, where they protested his ‘failure’ to back the law.
Jerusalem City Councilman Aryeh King spoke with Israeli Arutz Sheva’s Channel 7, saying: "Imagine that a speaker that is maybe 50, maybe 150 meters from your house, is waking up your children ..or if you have a baby who went to sleep, and suddenly at 11:30, before midnight, loudspeakers are waking up all the family and the baby cannot go to sleep."
King referred falsely to Isha’a prayer saying it occurs at “11:30, before midnight”, however, Isha’a prayer in Jerusalem occurs around 6:00 and 6:20 p.m. He could have also mean Dhuhr prayers, which occur around 11:14 and 11:34 a.m.
As it occurs at noon, it is nothing to do with midnight disturbing anyone's sleep.