The Islamic call to prayer is set to sound for the first time from one of Germany’s biggest mosques in Cologne on Friday — but at limited volume — as part of a project agreed with authorities in the city that has one of the country’s largest Muslim communities.
Authorities in Germany’s fourth-biggest city last year cleared the way for mosques to apply for permission for the muezzin to call for a maximum five minutes between noon and 3 p.m. on Fridays, with a noise limit being set for each mosque according to its location.
The call to prayer isn’t a first for Germany but does bring it to a particularly prominent mosque. The Central Mosque, a modern building with two tall minarets, is located on a busy road just west of downtown Cologne. Run by the the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, or DITIB, it was inaugurated by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2018.
DITIB says an agreement for a two-year trial of the call was made with the city on Wednesday.
Until now, the call to prayer was heard only inside the building. On Friday, it is to be broadcast by loudspeaker and will be audible outside, though authorities stipulated that it should be limited to 60 decibels for nearby residents.
Cologne’s mayor has said that allowing the call to prayer shows diversity is appreciated in the city.
Still, the restrictions imposed on the project point to the sensitivity of the subject. And the construction of the Central Mosque itself drew opposition from right-wing groups, Cologne’s then-archbishop and others in the late 2000s.