A muezzin conducted a call to prayer at the central mosque of the Turkish-Islamic Union (Ditib) in the German city of Cologne for the first time on Friday, prompting a demonstration outside the building.
The call to prayer was broadcast over two loudspeakers. It lasted less than five minutes and could only be heard in the immediate vicinity of the mosque.
Several people demonstrated against the muezzin’s call by chanting and holding banners decrying the oppression of women in Iran.
One of the banners read: “No muezzin call in Cologne! Public space should be ideologically neutral.”
Cologne’s mayor, Henriette Reker, paved the way for the muezzin’s call, arguing that the act cannot be denied to Muslims because of the freedom of religious practice guaranteed under Germany’s Basic Law.
Abdurrahman Atasoy, deputy chairman of Ditib Federal, said they were “very happy” about the agreement concluded with the city of Cologne.
“The public call to prayer is a sign that Muslims are at home, he said. “The core message of this long process is that Muslims are … a visible part and with their call to prayer an audible part (of society).”
The director of the Frankfurt Research Centre on Global Islam, Susanne Schröter, on the other hand, said the muezzin call could be understood as a “victory” for “Islamist hardliners.”
Ditib is subordinate to the Turkish religious authority. The Cologne Central Mosque was personally inaugurated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2018.