Dutch Locals Cut Mosque's Power Cable to Silence Amplified 'Call to Prayer'
Blue Mosque in Amsterdam says it wants to blast out call to 'normalize Islam' in the area
A mosque in Amsterdam had its power cable cut after the Islamic building had controversially begun using an amplified sound system to blast out the "call to prayer" around the neighborhood, much to the frustration of Dutch locals.
The Blue Mosque says it wanted to "normalize Islam" in the area by amplifying the Islamic message that calls nearby Muslims to attend prayers.
The move didn't go down well with non-Mulsim locals in the New West district of Amsterdam, however, and last Friday's broadcast was silenced when the power cable to the sound system was mysteriously cut.
The Blue Mosque was the first mosque in the Dutch capital to broadcast the "call to prayer" over loudspeakers across the neighborhood, Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf reports.
The controversial plan has faced widespread backlash from locals who believe the amplification of the call to prayer to such levels is aggressive, unnecessary, obnoxious, and ultimately runs counter to Dutch values.
Despite facing broad opposition, Yassin Elforkani, the mosque's head imam, went ahead with the plan anyway.
The leader of the national populist Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, voiced his concerns about the mosque’s plan to amplify its call to prayer.
“Screaming hate palaces must all close," Wilders said on Twitter.
"Do it in Saudi Arabia. But not here. This is our country and Islam does not belong in the Netherlands.”
Amsterdam's Mayor Femke Halsema also spoke out against the prayer call’s amplification.
However, Halsema says, legally, she cannot do anything about it.
In October, the mosque’s board said in a Facebook post that amplifying the call to prayer would help to “normalize Islam in this beautiful world city of Amsterdam.”
The sabotage was discovered when, last Friday, worshippers, alongside members from the national and local press, were waiting outside the Blue Mosque at 1:00 pm when the loudspeakers were turned on to broadcast the prayer.
But, to everyone’s surprise, no sound was heard.
After minutes of silence, the mosque's spokesman, Nourdeen Wildeman, reluctantly addressed the media, saying: “This is very painful.
"The sound system has failed. It feels very uncomfortable. ”
“We were full of excitement and there were many people outside. To our surprise, nothing sounded,” Wildeman later told reporters from Het Parool.
“We tested the sound system yesterday and everything worked fine,” he continued.
"We did not want to do it again today to limit any inconvenience. It must have happened last night or this morning."
Wilderman dismissed the idea that the power was cut maliciously, however, saying they "are assuming a boyish prank” was the motivation.
“We understand the joke," he added.
"Now that we’ve found what’s going on, we’re going to fix it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”