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Cologne's Central Mosque started calling Muslims to prayer

October 13, 2022

Cologne's mayor said allowing the muezzin call to be heard was "a sign of respect." But some are concerned over the involvement of Turkish Islamists at the mosque.

People gather to perform Eid al-Fitr prayer at Cologne Central Mosque in Cologne
Germany is home to more than 5 million Muslims, accounting for around 6% of the populationImage: Mesut Zeyrek/AA/picture alliance

Germany's largest mosque broadcast the call to prayer for the first time on Friday.

It comes as part of an agreement between the Central Mosque of Cologne and the city authorities.

"We're very happy," Abdurrahman Atasoy, general secretary of the Turkish government's religious affairs authority in Germany, DITIB, which runs the mosque, said.

"The public call to prayer is a sign that Muslims are at home here," he added.

Cologne mayor Henriette Reker said allowing the call to prayer was "a sign of respect" for the city's many Muslims.

Cologne has more than 100,000 Muslim residents.

Mosque to comply with strict limits 

Mosques in several cities in Germany have long been authorized to broadcast the call to prayer, but Cologne only approved it late last year.

The large mosque in the Ehrenfeld district was the first in the city to send out the muezzin call to Friday prayers. Other mosques in the city have also expressed interest in taking part in the two-year pilot project.

Under the agreement, Cologne's Central Mosque will be allowed to send out a single call to prayer over loudspeakers for up to five minutes on Fridays, between noon and 3:00 pm. The volume cannot exceed 60 decibels.

Controversy over mosque's funders

Cologne's Central Mosque has been a flashpoint for anti-Muslim sentiment in the past and it has been denounced particularly over the involvement of DITIB.

Critics have accused the organization of spying on Turkish dissidents living in Germany.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan formally inaugurated the Mosque himself during a controversial visit to Germany in September 2018.

Murat Kayman, who serves on the advisory board of the Alhambra Society, an association of liberal Muslims, welcomed the fact that the muezzin call was possible but he warned DITIB "stands for everything, but not for democratic conditions and freedom."

lo/rt (AFP, EPD)

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