Jerusalem: Leaders from across the Middle East on Monday condemned the Israeli Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday after it approved new draft of the 'Muezzin Bill', which prohibits mosques from using loudspeakers for the call to prayer, labeling it noise pollution.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas while condemning the bill, said, "It would drag the area to disaster.”
Arab League Deputy Secretary General Ahmed Ben Helli termed the bill a “very dangerous provocation, adding the bill “strikes” against religious freedom.
Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, an educational institute and government body, condemned the bill, saying it inflames the situation and contravenes freedom of worship. It called for international intervention to stop the violation.
Jordanian Undersecretary for Islamic and Waqf Affairs Abdullah Abadi added that “an occupier cannot make any change to the city it occupies and things must remain the same.”
Palestinian Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs Yousif Idais said the bill is an attempt to make the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a religious one.
“This [bill] expresses racism that goes beyond politics and delves into religion,” he said, adding that it “is pushing the entire region into a religious war.”
The draft bill, approved by the Israeli Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, must be voted on at the Knesset in three readings in order to be signed into a law. The bill prohibits the use of loudspeakers to call to prayer in Jerusalem and Israel.
"The bill would prohibit calling the prayer from 11pm to 7am", Palestinian News Agency WAFA reported citing to Israeli media sources.
Israeli Member of the Knesset Mordhay Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) and Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) submitted the bill. They claimed the calls to prayer early morning, mainly from mosques, disturb the sleep of hundreds of thousands of Jews and Arabs.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the bill, saying that people “of all religions have complained countless times about noise from the muezzin.”