COLOGNE – Following a decision that Mayor Henriette Reker described as a display of ‘valued and lived’ diversity, Mosques in the German city of Cologne will now be permitted to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer (athaan) on loudspeakers.
On Monday, city spokeswoman Katja Reuter said that 35 mosques in the city may broadcast the call to prayer for five minutes every week at around noon on Friday.
Activists and the Muslim community of Germany have welcomed the decision to ease restrictions on the call to prayer. A recent survey estimates that at least 6% (5.3 million) of the total German population (83 million) are Muslim.
One such activist, Martin Lejeune, told Salaamedia that the decision shows Germany’s appreciation for diversity. He said:”It shows that the City of Cologne, as well as the population of Germany, appreciate the diversity and all the religions in the city.”
Lejeune said he believes that the arrival of Syrian refugees during the 2014-15 European migrant crisis sparked tolerance amongst Germans.
“Something changed in Germany; it began with the arrival of asylum seekers in 2015 – due to the crisis in Syria. Germany welcomed more than 1.5 million refugees in that period. Most of the refugees are Muslims, so there’s a huge Muslim community in Germany,” he said.