German citizens resist muezzin call with cow bells and pot banging

Friday noon, at 1:30 pm sharp: When the muezzin calls for prayer in the Ditib Mosque, Marcel Bauersfeld is standing on the sidewalk of Bielefelder Strasse in Herford – once again. He hammers on a cooking pot with a spoon without ceasing. Shortly afterwards the police come and demand that he leave.Is this freedom of expression or is the 37-year-old’s action disturbing the freedom of religion? “Two basic rights collide,” says police spokeswoman Simone Lah-Schnier. However, as soon as there is suspicion of a crime, the police may – as in this case – issue a sending-off order. According to the spokeswoman, the man who has never been reported to the police, has already been charged with violating religious freedom.On July 3, Marcel Bauersfeld had also made a lot of noise in front of the mosque. But a week ago he used a cowbell. “It was confiscated by the police. That’s why I’m here with the pot today,” he says. The case is currently with the Bielefeld public prosecutor’s office. There, Simone Lah-Schnier says, it is being examined whether it is a crime. In the meantime, the cowbell that has been seized will be held by the authorities.For the third time in a row the 37-year-old protests this Friday against the Islamic call to prayer that Mayor Tim Kähler had permitted the Turkish community in mid-June. Since then the decision of the head of administration has caused controversial discussions.The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) around mayoral candidate Anke Theisen had criticized the decision. A majority of the council, however, considers the call to prayer a basic right.Marcel Bauersfeld makes it clear in an interview with this newspaper: “I am neither left nor right-wing extremist. I have nothing against other cultural customs either. The only thing that bothers me is the muezzin call, which in my eyes is nothing more than a call to the caliphate. I don’t want any Sharia here.”The protester says he has studied the Koran in depth. With the permission of the muezzin call, Pandora’s box was opened. “Other Turkish communities could claim the same right.” He is demanding that the city of Herford revoke its muezzin call permit.

The 37-year-old announces that he will be back next Friday. “I am curious to see if I will be prosecuted for a cowbell or a cooking pot,” he says.

The Ditib community could prevent this by obtaining a temporary injunction with a prohibition of approach from the district court. This means: Marcel Bauersfeld would only be allowed to approach the mosque up to a certain, fixed distance.

4 thoughts on “German citizens resist muezzin call with cow bells and pot banging

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