Controversial plans by an Amsterdam mosque to amplify Friday afternoon’s call to prayer went wrong in front of waiting journalists, when it transpired that an electrical cable had been cut through.
The Blue Mosque was going to be the first mosque in Amsterdam where the prayer broadcast would be amplified on Friday afternoon. The plan has caused a lot of resistance, but head imam Yassin Elforkani decided to implement his plan anyway.
Worshippers and reporters were outside the Blauwe Moskee at 13.00 when the loudspeakers were switched on but no sound was heard. The national media was massively represented. The mosque served coffee and tea for those waiting outside.
The failure, was “very painful”, a mosque spokesman said. According to the mosque it was due to sabotage. “We tested the sound system yesterday and everything worked fine. It must have happened tonight or this morning.”
It is still unclear if the cable had been cut as an act of sabotage or was unintentional but some say that they are assuming it was “a prank”.
The mosque’s board hopes that the loud call to prayer will help “normalise Islam in this beautiful world city of Amsterdam,” they said on Facebook in October.
But the plan immediately led to a storm of social media comments, with the anti-Islam PVV tabling parliamentary questions because the Blue Mosque will broadcast the loud, public prayer call through the neighbourhood with the aid of speakers once a week.
The mosque’s authorities plan to hold a new attempt to broadcast the call to prayer via speakers next week.
Outrage over the new speakers of the Blue Mosque has been ongoing for a while now. Member of the Lower House Geert Wilders (PVV) is not at all pleased with the new speakers of the Blue Mosque.
Wilders, not a fan of Islam anyway, demands that the “screaming hate palace” be closed immediately and “moved to Saudi Arabia”.
In the Christian tradition, the sound of church bells is not “the same as minarets,” since church bells do not spread religious messages as the mosque broadcasters do. In that sense, it constitutes advertising for a certain religious belief.
“Will we soon hear political messages from parties spread through huge speakers at the local PvdA headquarters?” one Amsterdam inhabitant wanted to know.
Dutch journalist Syp Wynia previously expressed strong criticism of Elforkani on the programme Good Morning Netherlands. “Head imam Elforkani has said that Amsterdam must get used to Islam. It is really the intention to spread Islam beyond the mosque. The idea that this is a connection operation is really nonsense,” says Wynia.
Amsterdam’s mayor Femke Halsema also aid she did not support the idea.
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