Israeli memberif Knesset calls for banning of calling for dawn prayers
By Saed Bannoura
IMEMC & Agencies:
Israeli member of Knesset (MK) Arie Bibi of the Kadima party headed by Tzipi Livni, intends to file a proposal to the Knesset to vote on preventing the mosques in Israel from using speakers while calling for dawn prayers.
The proposal intend to prevent the call for prayers in Al Arab areas, including in East Jerusalem.
Several Arab and Islamic figures and legislators described the intended proposal as racist.
Bibi defended his proposal by stating that he is not asking the mosques not to call for prayers but to use other alternatives instead of the loud speakers.
He added that his proposal came after he received several letters in this regard from Israelis living in mixed areas or in areas close to Arab cities and town.
According to Bibi, the letters indicated that their authors are annoyed by the dawn call for prayers.
An Israeli man told the BBC Arabic that he is not bothered by the call for prayers. He said that at the beginning he was annoyed because he didn’t know what is it about, but later on got used to it and was never bothered by it.
An Israeli woman told the BBC that she is somehow annoyed by the call for prayers because it reminds her she never lived near Arabs.
“Call for prayers is somehow annoying because it reminds me that there are other people living here”, she said, “I moved her 18 months ago, and am sorry to say that I never lived near Arabs, and the call for prayers reminds me of that”.
Arab member of Knesset, Ahmad Tibi, described the proposal as racist.
“Imagine if someone in the international community proposed preventing a Jewish symbol, there would be lots of angry response”, Tibi said, “But this is possible in the Israeli society, and could even be supported and approved”.
Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, head of the Higher Islamic Committee, said that this issue aims at imposing more restrictions on the freedom of religions, and more restrictions on Muslims, and ultimately to force the Muslims out.
The proposal still needs several deliberations before it is presented to the Knesset for a vote.