The Blue Mosque wants to become the first Amsterdam Mosque to amplify their Friday call to prayer – known as the Azan – with loudspeakers. The group announced their intention in a Facebook post Tuesday with the explanation that they hope the amplified call will “contribute to the normalization of Islam in the beautiful beautiful metropolis of Amsterdam.”
According to the Parool, head imam, Yassin Elforkani hopes to enter the social debate over Islam in the streets, especially in the context of the recent burqa ban. Elforkani said, “Because of international terrorism, people still associate ‘Allahu akbar’ with violence or misery, while many visitors to our mosque experience it as something meditative. The Azan can contribute to the fact that Islam is finally seen as something normal in the Netherlands.”
The Parool reports a few dozen Dutch mosques already use loudspeakers for the Azan but the Blue Mosque would be the first of Amsterdam’s mosques, of which there are over 40. While municipalities can and do regulate the duration and volume of the loudspeakers for the Azan, they cannot prohibit mosques from amplifying their call to prayer.
The municipality discourages mosques from playing the Azan through loudspeakers such as with the upcoming Boven IJ Mosque in the north for which the Parool reports “the ground lease arrangement contains a ban on a reinforced public prayer call,” but Elforkani anticipates no adversity with amplifying the Azan at the Blue Mosque. He says, “Amsterdam is a tolerant city, right?”
In their Facebook announcement, the New-West Amsterdam mosque invites locals to the Blue Mosque to discuss their intention on Sunday, October 20, from 17:00.