Amsterdam mosque to boost call to prayer with loudspeakers

The Blauwe Moskee in Amsterdam Nieuw-West
The Blauwe Moskee in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. (Photo: De Blauwe Moskee/Facebook)

The Blauwe Moskee in Amsterdam Nieuw-West wants to boost it's weekly call to prayer - the Adhan - through loudspeakers. A few dozen mosques in the Netherlands already do so, but the Blauwe Moskee will be the first in Amsterdam. The mosque's board is organizing a neighborhood meeting on Sunday afternoon to inform local residents about their intentions, imam Yassin Elforkani said to Het Parool.

According to Elforkani, the louder call to prayer is partly a response to the social debate about the visibility of Islam in the streets, which flared up again this summer after the introduction of the burka ban. By making Islam that bit more visible in the public space, Amsterdam residents will get more used to the religion as something normal and unrest will disappear, he believes.

"We do not want to provoke with this, but try to normalize Islamic traditions", the imam said to Parool. "Because of international terrorism, people still associate 'Allāhu akbar' with violence or misery, while many visitors to our mosque experience it as something meditative. The Adhan can contribute to the fact that Islam is finally seen as something normal in the Netherlands."

Just like Christian churches are allowed to ring their bells, mosques are also allowed to make a boosted call to prayer at certain moments. Municipalities can set rules on duration and volume, but cannot prohibit it. 

According to Parool, it does seem like Amsterdam is trying to discourage mosques from using loudspeakers for their Adhan. In Amsterdam Noord, where the Boven IJ mosque will be erected, the ground lease arrangement contains a ban on a reinforced public call to prayer, for example. 

Imam Elforkani of the Blauwe Moskee on Henri Dunanstraat expects that the mosque's intention to use loudspeakers will cause a discussion, but not much problems. "Amsterdam is a tolerant city, right?" he said to Parool 

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