By Mesut Zeyrek
COLOGNE, Germany (AA) - Muslims in Germany's city of Cologne welcomed the permission granted to them for two years to announce the call to prayer every Friday on loudspeaker.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abdurrahman Atasoy, the acting president of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), said: "I hope we will hold our first call to prayer (over loudspeaker) here on Oct. 14, after we deal with the measures and issues that need to be resolved by the municipality."
He said the right to call to prayer is granted to Muslims by the constitution of Germany.
Prior to the first call to prayer, the Muslim community informed the residents of the neighborhood about Islam and its tenets to remove any prejudice.
The call to prayer invites worshippers to the mosque five times a day, however, Friday is the holiest day of the week for Muslims.
Atasoy also thanked Mayor Henriette Reker for granting the permission, adding that Muslims living in Germany for generations are a natural part of the society.
Murat Sahinarslan, director of MoscheeForum, an inter-faith group, said they filed an application for the call to prayer last year in November with the city authorities.
After receiving feedback from the municipality regarding the report, Sahinarslan said that there will be a few minor readjustments in the coming days.
"The practice has been in force in the Duren Mosque for 35 years, the Rendsburg Mosque in northern Germany has been holding outdoor call to prayer for years, so we are not the first," he said.
"The other mosques of Cologne have not applied yet, we are working in coordination with the mosques affiliated with DITIB on this issue," he added.
The outdoor call to prayer over loudspeaker every Friday will be held between 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., which will not last longer than five minutes and not go above a certain volume so as not to disturb neighbors.
Headquarters of major Turkish non-governmental organizations such as DITIB, Islam Toplumu MillI Gorus (IGMG), Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB) are located in Cologne, the largest city of the North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state.
There are more than 900 mosques affiliated with DITIB alone in Germany.