Monday 08 August 2022

Mosques baffled by SGP plan to ban calls to prayer: we don’t do it in NL, they say


The Dutch Moroccan Mosque Council said on Friday afternoon it is baffled by calls from a fundamentalist Christian party for a ban on the call to prayer.

The SGP, which believes the Netherlands should be run according to Biblical principles, said on Friday that it is including a ban on mosques calling people to attend services in its manifesto for the 2017 general election.

‘We are not in the Middle East,’ party leader Kees van der Staaij told Radio 1 news. ‘We don’t have to think it normal to have “Allah is great” sounding through the streets.’

RMMN spokesman Said Bouharrou told news agency ANP that very few mosques in the Netherlands broadcast a call to prayer anyway.

He said he is only aware of it being done by a mosque in Utrecht, in Roosendaal and in Enschede. In addition, the broadcasts have to meet strict noise limits, he pointed out.

‘We’re not really sure what the SGP wants to achieve,’ Bouharrou said. ‘This is stimulating an anti-Islamic climate and increasing polarisation.’

Church bells

Home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk told the Telegraaf that a ban could also backfire on the SGP.

Dutch laws on freedom of religion also protect the right of churches to sound their bells to call the faithful, the minister pointed out.

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