Netherlands: Mosque fined for operating cell-phone jammer

Netherlands: Mosque fined for operating cell-phone jammer

Islamic Association for Education and Transfer of Knowledge (Islamitische Stichting voor Opvoeding en Overdracht van Kennis) of Tilburg imam Salam was sentenced by the Breda court to a fine of 650 euro for disturbing cell-phone usage.

The association had placed a so-called phone-jammer in the mosque in Tilburg-Noord in order to allow people to pray quietly. The cell-phone jammer is a machine that broadcasts strong radio signals which make it impossible to use cell-phones within a radius of a few dozen meters. The use of one is illegal since the signals are broadcast on frequencies which belongs to the cell-phone providers.

Moreover, it can endanger safety, since phone service to police and emergency services are also brought to a standstill.

The police discovered the jammer after complaints from the neighborhood. The board of the association got a proposal for an out-of-court settlement of 550 euro, but rejected it. The board wanted to bring the case to court, but nobody showed up on behalf of the association yesterday morning.

In the verdict the magistrate accepted the request of the prosecutor.

The court said that there are other ways to ensure that people turn off their phones during prayer, for example by hanging up a notice.

Source: BN/DeStem (Dutch)