Hamas condemns Israel bill silencing mosques

The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, has strongly condemned a controversial Israeli bill that would ban Muslim calls to prayer from being announced from loudspeakers at mosques in occupied Palestine, warning that such legislation would face stiff resistance.

The Israeli parliament, Knesset, on Wednesday gave its preliminary approval to a bill that would silence mosques. The “muezzin” bill was passed in the preliminary reading by 55-48 votes.

Speaking after Friday prayers in the Gaza Strip, senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh denounced the Israeli move and said, “This decision will not pass.”

“Our people and nation will raise the Azan all over the world,” he said, referring to the Arabic word for the Muslim call to prayer.
The Wednesday bill was approved after a heated discussion that turned into shouting matches between the ruling coalition members and Arab lawmakers. Some Arab parliamentarians tore copies of the bill, which led to their expulsion from the chamber.

According to an Israeli parliament statement, the first measure in the bill prohibits the use of loudspeakers between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., a period which encompasses the first of Islam’s five daily calls to prayer.

The second of the measures would completely ban places of worship from using loudspeakers during all hours.

The bill makes no mention of any specific religion, but it has become known as the “muezzin bill or law” as it blocks the traditional Muslim call to prayer that is broadcast through speakers mounted on mosques’ minarets.

The notion of Israeli legislation has sparked outrage among Muslims, Christians and Jews across the occupied Palestinian territories.

However, supporters of the move say it is needed to prevent daily disturbance to the lives of Israelis.

The controversial move was also supported by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He had earlier said he would back the bill, adding that the calls to prayers made excessive “noise.”

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