Hamas leader Meshaal says ‘Israel is playing with fire’ over anti-Adhan bill
Islamist Hamas movement chief Khaled Meshaal answers AFP journalists' question during an interview. (AFP/File)
Political chief of Palestinian group Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, has decried an Israeli bill calling for a ban on mosques using loudspeakers for the call to prayer.
"[By this bill], Israel is playing with fire," Meshaal told Anadolu Agency in exclusive statements on Sunday.
The bill, which is currently awaiting approval before it is presented to the Knesset, or Israeli parliament, has the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It applies to all religions across Israel but many fear it is aimed at mosques that broadcast the Adhan, or call to prayer, five times a day.
The planned legislation specifically mentions Israelis who "suffer regularly and daily from the noise caused by the call of the muezzin from mosques."
"This bill has drawn a strong reaction from the Palestinian people and Muslims worldwide," Meshaal said.
Before it becomes law, the bill must pass three rounds of voting by lawmakers.
Many Israelis have condemned the bill as an attack on freedom of religion and part of a pattern of persecution against Muslims.
Meanwhile, Meshaal called on President-elect Donald Trump to change U.S. foreign policy with a view to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
"We realize that regional and international developments affect the Palestinian cause and all regional issues, but what makes history is the struggle of the peoples," Meshaal said.
He said ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands is the key to regional stability.
"There will be no stability in the region until the Palestinian people regain their rights and the [Israeli] occupation of ours lands and holy sites come to an end," he said.
Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war, which the Palestinians want – along with Gaza Strip – to make up their future state.
U.S.-sponsored peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel collapsed in 2014 over the latter's refusal to halt settlement building in occupied territories.
By Ahmed Yusuf