Last Updated: Sun Dec 19, 2010 19:56 pm (KSA) 16:56 pm (GMT)

Austrian court rules “singing” offensive to Muslims

Helmut G's Muslim neighbors accused him of trying to ridicule and imitate the call of the Muezzin (File)
Helmut G's Muslim neighbors accused him of trying to ridicule and imitate the call of the Muezzin (File)

An Austrian court has fined a local man for singing folk songs it found offensive to his Muslim neighbors, The Kronen Zeitung newspaper reported on Saturday.

Helmut G., 63, was told by the court that his singing offended his next-door Muslim neighbors, who accused him of trying to ridicule and imitate the call of the Muezzin.

A muezzin is the chosen person at a mosque who leads the call to prayer five times daily.

While mowing his lawn, Helmut G., started singing yodels, which are traditional songs sung with an extended note which increasingly and repeatedly changes in pitch to later seesaws in high-low-high-low sound.

The yodel was originally used as a means of communication between Alpine mountaineers and villagers, but later it was incorporated as a traditional music expression in Austria.

Helmut who was fined 800 euros started with his yodeling while his neighbors were in the middle of the prayer.

“It was not my intention to imitate or insult them. I simply started to yodel a few tunes because I was in such a good mood,” he said.

Yodeling is used in many parts of the world, but in Austria it is most popular.

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