In a town hall decision intended as a sign of respect, Cologne is the first large city in Germany to allow all 45 mosques to call to prayer through muezzins, according to a report by tagesspiegel.de.
The muezzins will make calls to prayers every Friday between noon and 3 p.m. for five minutes. The volume of their calls will be determined based on the location of the mosque. The mosque community must choose a contact person who will answer questions and handle complaints. Cologne’s mosques will have to apply for a special permit.
Approximately 5.5 million Muslims live in Germany, a third of which live in North Rhine-Westphalia. There are currently around 3,000 mosques in Germany, of which only about one percent has muezzins calling Muslims to pray.
In Germany, the muezzin call was first heard in 1985 in Düren. At that time, the court had to decide on granting the permit.
About 120,000 Muslims live in Cologne, which has a population of one million. The Muslim community there is one of the largest in all of Germany. As a point of comparison 250,000 to 300,000 Muslims live in Berlin, making up about nine percent of the local population. Most Muslims are of Turkish descent, as about 60 years ago, the first generation of so-called Gastarbeiter, or guest workers, arrived, bringing their families later.