Ilkone i800 cellular telephone at mosque
Fred Ernst  /  AP file
The lightweight Ilkone i800 cellular telephone is seen in front of a group of people praying in a mosque in Rotterdam. The Netherlands is the first European country where the Islamic phone goes on sale.
updated 10/7/2005 4:24:31 PM ET 2005-10-07T20:24:31

For Muslims, it's a high-tech call to prayer. A new cellular telephone generates five automated reminders a day at prayer time and points Muslims in the direction of Mecca.

It also contains a copy of the Islamic holy book, the Quran, in both Arabic and English.

Already available in the Middle East and Asia, Ilkone — Arabic for universe — recently went on sale in the Netherlands for its European debut.

It will be followed by launches in France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Belgium and Bosnia in coming months, said Peter Suyk, the managing director of Lebara BV, the phone's European distributor.

Some Muslims were skeptical.

"I wouldn't buy one," said 15-year-old Mohammed Bouyeri, sitting outside Rotterdam's largest mosque, the Mevlana.

"It might be useful for someone at home or traveling, but not at the mosque. Everyone here already knows what time prayers are."

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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