COLOGNE: After October’s historic announcement to allow the Muezzin Ruf (Azaan) by Cologne city mayor Henriette Reker, 35 mosques in the western German city are now playing Friday’s Azan between noon and 3pm and more Muslim communities have requested for use of loud speakers for Azan, German media reports.
The two-year model project is called Muezzin Ruf, and has been renewed by Mayor Henriette Reker who tweeted that Cologne was the city of religious freedom and diversity. Many Colognes resident are Muslims too. “To allow the muezzin call is a sign of respect for me,” she said.
All mosques where the Friday’s prayers broadcast over loudspeaker are managed by DITIB, the central organization representing millions of Turkish Muslims in Germany.
Cologne the fourth largest city of Germany, is also famous for cathedral churches. Cologne has one of the largest Muslim populations in Germany, the city being home to a large number of Turkish immigrants. According to the official census of 2017-18, there are around 55,000 Turkish Muslims in the city.
Germany’s far-right AfD party has protested against the mayor’s initiative. AfD party claims the initiative is not about diversity, and the call to prayers is a show of power.
Central Mosque is one of the largest mosques of Europe. This mosque also broadcasts the Friday Azan. In 2018 this mosque was reopened by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a three-year closure due to religious conflicts.