Jerusalem officials have quietly shelved a previously announced plan to turn down the sound from Muslim mosque loudspeakers in some eastern Jerusalem areas and give Jews, and some Arabs, a bit of peace and quiet.
The $80,000 project won screaming headlines eight month ago, when officials said the ear-splitting screams of the “muezzin” in mosques, starting in the pre-dawn hours, would be toned down in certain eastern Jerusalem areas, such as Jabel Mukhaber, between Talpiot and the Old City.
Anyone who has visited the Western Wall or the Patriarchs’ Cave (Maharat HaMacpelah) in Hebron know that the wails from the mosques are turned up full volume, even, if not especially, when Jews are praying.
The plan was supposed to include measuring the sound levels of the loudspeakers, which often blast far beyond legal limits, and to ask the clerics to turn the loudspeakers in the direction of the centers of Arab villages.
Loudspeakers in the Arab neighborhood of Beit Tzfafa, in southern Jerusalem, were discovered to be turned up during the escalation of the recent wave of terror.
The clerics also were asked to buy new loudspeakers with volume controls, and Jerusalem workers were to make their rounds and make sure the noise level is more tolerable.
Not surprisingly, Muslim clerics were furious and called the idea a “shame and disgrace.”
The city has explained that the plan has been “temporarily” shelved because the money is needed to build 23 new rooms in kindergartens.
The municipality added that after the Ministry of Education transfers more money to the city, the funds for the project will be returned for general use.
The French government has shut down three mosques under emergency laws passed in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist massacre in Paris.
Those laws gave police sweeping new authority until February 2016, despite rights groups and politicians who expressed concerns about reports of police abuses of power.
“Measures to close down mosques on the grounds of radicalization … have never been made by any previous government, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve noted in his briefing with media on Wednesday.
He added that police have carried out 2,235 raids across France since the massacre; 334 weapons were seized, including 24 military-grade assault weapons.
The criticism was dismissed by the Interior Minister, however. “It is terrorism, not the state of emergency, which threatens freedoms,” said Cazeneuve.
The multi-site attack by Da’esh (ISIS) operatives and suicide bombers claimed the lives of 130 victims and wounded 350 others.
One of the mosques that was closed is located in the eastern Paris suburb of Lagny-sur-Marne, according to France 24. During the process, nine people were placed on house arrest. Another 22 were banned from leaving the country.
“Police searches [there] turned up a 9mm caliber pistol, a hidden hard drive, documents and files on jihad and a life insurance policy subscribed in 2012,” Cazeneuve said, according to the RFI news outlet.
“The Council of Ministers will now dissolve these three pseudo-cultural organizations which used clandestine prayer rooms on the premises,” he added. Mosques in Lyon (in central eastern France) and Gennevilliers (near Paris) were also closed on grounds of spreading radicalism as well.
(JNi.media) The Beth Israel synagogue in Peterborough, Central Ontario, Canada, invited Muslim worshipers at the Masjid al-Salaam mosque to pray in their building, after it had been firebombed on Nov. 14 by arsonists, Canadian media reported. The damage to the mosque was estimated at $80 thousand.
On Saturday night, the synagogue’s website published an announcement stating, “Yesterday, Friday November 27, Beth Israel became a house of worship for the local Muslim community.” On Friday, Beth Israel hosted two prayer sessions for local Muslims and a potluck dinner.
Beth Israel Synagogue president Larry Gillman told CBC, “As Canadians we have to stick together. It’s not about religion, it’s not about race. Canadians do this.” According to CBC, as soon as Gillman heard about the fire at the mosque, he reached out to his synagogue’s board of directors to find out about sharing space with the Muslim congregation. They voted unanimously in favor. “I hope this can be some kind of small example to others,” Gillman said.
Kenzu Abdella, the president of the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association, told CBC, “In the beginning, it was a shock. Within 24 hours, that changed. They walked to the mosque and told us that whatever we need, they will support us. Even though it came out of a tragedy, we are working together.”
The invitation to the synagogue was the first meeting between Abdella and Gillman. Since then, Gillman has given a speech at the Muslim Institute of Toronto and his synagogue has become part of an interfaith group working to sponsor Syrian refugees to come to Canada.
“We have more similarities than differences,” Abdella told CBC. “We have so much in common — the details of worship and the ceremonies. Even the stories we hear are similar. At the end of the day, it’s a house of God.”
In the still of the night, Jerusalemites hear the sonorous Arabic call to prayers.
And another. And it keeps going on and on, until the night — and day — is filled with the blare of the Arabic wails, at least in Jewish neighborhoods situated cheek-and-jowl with Muslim neighbors. In the past, the loudspeakers weren’t so loud.
But the long-simmering battle over the loudspeakers of the mosques is heating up in the holy city and now is approaching the boiling point.
Imams in the Arab neighborhoods of Jabel Mukabar and Sur Baher were asked to direct speakers in their mosques pointed towards the center of their own neighborhoods, which have become strongholds for terrorist cells and lone wolf Arab attackers.
In addition, neighborhood representatives were told to obtain new speakers with adjustable volume; this coming after the broadcast level was measured at or near the allowable limit.
Police have also begun to track the sermons of imams in neighborhood mosques to monitor the clerics for incitement to violence.
“This is a disgrace, and an attempt to damage the values of the religion,” claimed Jabel Mukabar activist, Mehdi Akram.
The demand to order the mosques to change the direction of their speakers and for the vehicles to obtain those with adjustable volumes followed complaints from the residents of the Armon HaNatziv neighborhood.
The residents of the Jewish neighborhood hear the wail of Islam’s call to prayer at all hours of the day and night, since Muslims are called to prayer around the clock, five times a day. The residents of the Jewish neighborhood say the Muslim loudspeakers have been wailing particularly loudly ever since the start of the current wave of terror.
Environmental Protection Department personnel sent to measure the noise level at the mosques under an initial pilot test told the Hebrew-language Ynet news site they found abnormal intensities in the neighborhood. The noise level in the Armon HaNatziv neighborhood is “absolutely unbearable” when all three mosques begin to call for prayer from Jabel Mukabar at four o’clock in the morning, Ynet reported.
Residents of the Arnona neighborhood made similar complaints about the five mosques operating in Sur Baher.
Several months ago, Jerusalem city hall approved a comprehensive program for testing the noise levels from 200 mosques in Arab neighborhoods in the city. The cost of the pilot, which tested mosques in Jabel Mukaber and Sur Baher, was approximately NIS 200,000.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated Wednesday afternoon that police removed Arab Knesset Member Basel Ghattas from the Temple Mount this morning in line with his order barring legislators from visiting the holy site.
Ghattas, a Christian Arab from Nazareth, sneaked past guards who did not notice he was an MK. After he sat foot near the Al Aqsa mosque compound, cameras were whipped out to film him stating that Netanyahu and the government of Israel have no sovereignty over the Temple Mount and stop him from visiting.
Police later were seen removing him.
Ghattas is a Christian, but that has not prevented him from trying to show off to Muslims constituents how concerned he is that Jews are allowed to visit.
Netanyahu said after Ghattas’ visit:
The Temple Mount has been quiet for two weeks. We are making every effort to maintain this quiet, but it would seem that someone is disturbed by this.
MK Ghattas went up to the Temple Mount, went to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. I assure you he did not do it in order to pray, he did it solely for the purpose of provocation, only to inflame the situation.
In accordance with my general directive, the police moved him away. I will not let any Knesset member or minister ignite the Temple Mount.
It has become a regular fashion statement for radical Islamist clerics to rise to the podium in pristine dark robes and snow-white keffiyahs in order to preach new ways to murder Jews.
Among the Gaza crowd in particular it is de rigeur for Islamist preachers to find a spare but elegantly appointed archway from which to deliver the words of “glory,” so cameras will have a nice but neutral backdrop for the deliverer of the ‘hellfire.’
On October 23, Abu Hamza Shour exhorted followers at a Gaza mosque during his Friday sermon to “poison their daggers” and “blow up” Jews in “martyrdom operations.”
The sermon, posted on the Internet, was picked up and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
“The time for demonstrations and rallies is over, and so is the time for pleading for help,” the cleric said.
“It is now the time to harvest, the time for operations, the time for swords, bloodshed, and the pulling of the trigger.
“O son of the West Bank rage! By Allah, only rage will liberate this land.
“O people of the West Bank, kill them! Poison your daggers, and then stab or slaughter them.
“Blow them up, shed their blood, pounce on them, dismember them, paralyze them, make the earth quake under their feet, trample on their heads.
Displaying an explosives belt he proclaimed, “The next martyrdom-seeking operations will be carried out with [such] explosives belts…
Abu Hamza Ashour held up the explosives belt, saying to the imaginary Jews in the audience: “This is what awaits you. This is what is being prepared for you. This is your nightmare. This is what the mujahedeen are preparing for you. (This sounds a little like the chant that Jews say during the kapparot ceremony that is performed each year prior to Yom Kippur, in which the repentent sinner expresses remorse and transfers his or her sins to a live chicken — or money — in order to expiate the aforementioned sins.)
“By Allah, we will use it to turn you into body parts, and we will send you messages written in blood.
“By Allah, we will annihilate you with it. We will turn you into lifeless corpses, and into scattered body parts, Allah willing. This is what will liberate our land, Allah willing.
President Barack Obama laced his annual Rosh HaShanah greetings with political overtones, in stark contrast to his message to Muslims last July on their Eid-ul-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan.
President Obama reminded Jews that the “Book of Life is open.” Assuming a posture as a Jew, he added:
As millions of Jews ask God to inscribe their names in that Book we recognize how much lies beyond our control.
It was a pointed reminder to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that besides God, there also is President Obama who pulls the strings when it comes to world affairs, such as the nuclear agreement with Iran.
The President then preached peace, which he said is “hard, but right now the book is open. Not just for God but for us.”
That is a theme that was totally absent from his speech to Muslims in July, when he noted:
The end of Ramadan is a time to reflect spiritually, build communally, and aid those in need. While Eid marks the end of Ramadan, it marks a new beginning for each individual – a reason to celebrate and express gratitude on this holiday.
President Obama then devoted nearly half of his greeting to talk about how millions of Muslims go to mosques for prayers and then have “festive gatherings, gift exchanges, and feasts among friends, neighbors and families.”
He emphasized how “the diversity of traditions paint the vibrant images we see from around the world capturing the spirit and excitement of Eid – colorful dresses or white garments decorating the masses of people standing in lines for prayer, lanterns and ornaments lighting up bazaars and neighborhoods, intricate henna designs painted on hands of young girls and women, and an abundance of delectable foods and aromatic cuisines.”
Then he boasted that Eid-ul-Fitr now is a an official holiday in New York City public schools, and he praised Muslims for helping to raise money “for the churches burned in the wake of the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina” by a white racist.
The greeting to Muslims was absent of any reference to radical Muslim violence, peace in the Middle East, or the nuclear threat from Iran. It was a typical patronizing greeting made by every leader to partisan groups.
Now let’s go back to 2009 for President Obama’s first Rosh HaShanah greetings:
I want to extend my warmest wishes for this New Year. L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu – may you have a good year, and may you be inscribed for blessing in the Book of Life….
At the dawn of this New Year, let us rededicate ourselves to that work. Let us reject the impulse to harden ourselves to others’ suffering, and instead make a habit of empathy – of recognizing ourselves in each other and extending our compassion to those in need.
Let us resist prejudice, intolerance, and indifference in whatever forms they may take — let us stand up strongly to the scourge of anti-Semitism, which is still prevalent in far too many corners of our world….
And let us work to achieve lasting peace and security for the state of Israel, so that the Jewish state is fully accepted by its neighbors, and its children can live their dreams free from fear.
All of that was absent from this year’s greeting, which also did not mention anti-Semitism and certainly not anti-Zionism, lest he prompt reminders that Iran’s idea of peace is a world without Israel.
President Obama was elected on a motto of “change.”