Israel considers bill forcing mosques to lower volume

JERUSALEM (AP) " Israel's parliament has passed an initial reading of a bill that would make mosques lower the volume of their call to prayer, amid protests by Arab lawmakers.

Arab-Israeli politician Ahmed Tibi tore up the proposal at the Knesset podium Wednesday. The bill still needs to pass several more hurdles.

Devout Muslims pray five times a day, starting around 5 a.m. In Israel, the call to prayer is often loud enough to wake up residents in Jewish neighborhoods near Muslim communities.

Supporters of the bill say it as a matter of quality of life. But Arab citizens of Israel see it as an affront.

Arabs make up one-fifth of the population; they enjoy full rights but face discrimination in some areas. Many identify politically and culturally with Palestinians.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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