Extra copies of Charlie Hebdo to hit Germany

Germany will get more copies of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a spokeswoman for distribution company Deutsche Pressevertrieb (DPV) said on Tuesday.

Extra copies of Charlie Hebdo to hit Germany
A sign at a press kiosk reads "Charlie Hebdo is sold out". Photo: DPA

The magazine's special edition, produced immediately after the attack by Islamist gunmen on January 6th, sold out in minutes last weekend after only 5,000 copies were delivered to shops in Germany.

But DPV says a further 30,000 will be available in kiosks from Saturday – a far cry from the seven million printed in France.

The news came the day after French author Michel Houllebecq, who published a novel called "Submission" (the literal translation of "Islam") the day of the attacks, spoke to a crowd in Cologne.

Some spectators had given away or returned their tickets – possibly out of fear of violence.

Houllebecq argues that his book – in which a fundamentalist Muslim politician is elected to the French presidency and imposes Sharia law – is not really an attack on Muslims.

In fact, he says, he attacks all illiberal politicians alike – including France's anti-Muslim Front National – along with their apathetic and easily-manipulated enablers among the public.

"If I had known about this before, I would have written my thoughts more cleanly, then everything would have been clearer", he told the audience.

SEE ALSO: "Islamophobic" novel hits the shelves in France


Mosques in Cologne to start broadcasting the call to prayer every Friday

The mayor of Cologne has announced a two-year pilot project that will allow mosques to broadcast the call to prayer on the Muslim day of rest each week.

Mosques in Cologne to start broadcasting the call to prayer every Friday
The DITIP mosque in Cologne. Photo: dpa | Henning Kaiser

Mosques in the city of the banks of the Rhine will be allowed to call worshippers to prayer on Fridays for five minutes between midday and 3pm.

“Many residents of Cologne are Muslims. In my view it is a mark of respect to allow the muezzin’s call,” city mayor Henriette Reker wrote on Twitter.

In Muslim-majority countries, a muezzin calls worshippers to prayer five times a day to remind people that one of the daily prayers is about to take place.

Traditionally the muezzins would call out from the minaret of the mosque but these days the call is generally broadcast over loudspeakers.

Cologne’s pilot project would permit such broadcasts to coincide with the main weekly prayer, which takes place on a Friday afternoon.

Reker pointed out that Christian calls to prayer were already a central feature of a city famous for its medieval cathedral.

“Whoever arrives at Cologne central station is welcomed by the cathedral and the sound of its church bells,” she said.

Reker said that the call of a muezzin filling the skies alongside church bells “shows that diversity is both appreciated and enacted in Cologne”.

Mosques that are interested in taking part will have to conform to guidelines on sound volume that are set depending on where the building is situated. Local residents will also be informed beforehand.

The pilot project has come in for criticism from some quarters.

Bild journalist Daniel Kremer said that several of the mosques in Cologne were financed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, “a man who opposes the liberal values of our democracy”, he said.

Kremer added that “it’s wrong to equate church bells with the call to prayer. The bells are a signal without words that also helps tell the time. But the muezzin calls out ‘Allah is great!’ and ‘I testify that there is no God but Allah.’ That is a big difference.”

Cologne is not the first city in North Rhine-Westphalia to allow mosques to broadcast the call to prayer.

In a region with a large Turkish immigrant community, mosques in Gelsenkirchen and Düren have been broadcasting the religious call since as long ago as the 1990s.

SEE ALSO: Imams ‘made in Germany’: country’s first Islamic training college opens its doors