The German city of Cologne will begin permitting mosques to broadcast calls for Friday prayers.
The muezzin can be announced for five minutes every week around noon outside the Muslim houses of prayer, city spokeswoman Katja Reuter said.
Cologne mosques need to apply for a special permit in order to be able to broadcast the call, Reuter added. The initiative will run for two years and before being re-evaluated.
Cologne mayor Henriette Reker has welcomed the decision and has stated that permitting the call of the muezzin is “a sign of respect”.
“If in addition to the sounds of the church bells we also hear the call of the muezzin, it shows that in Cologne diversity is valued and lived,” Reker added.
Cologne has one of Germany’s biggest Muslim communities and is home to an estimated 35 mosques. Most Muslims in the region initially came from Turkey as guest workers sixty years ago and then later brought their families.
Only a few other Muslim houses of prayer across Germany, like in the western towns of Oer-Erkenschwick and Düren, have been broadcasting the muezzin’s call for years, sometimes despite the protests of Christian neighbours.