London, Dec 17 (ANI): An Austrian man has been fined nearly 700 pounds after his Muslim neighbours complained that his yodelling ridiculed their beliefs.
Helmut Griese, 63, who is regarded as a "grumpy old man" by his neighbours, would allegedly begin his yodelling just as they knelt down to pray to Mecca.
The court in Graz was told the Muslim family came to view his open-air versions of the Alpine chanting as racist besides being aimed at them, and they claimed he was trying to "mock and imitate" the call of the Muezzin.
"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," the Daily Mail quoted Griese as telling Austria's Kronen newspaper.
The court also heard that things heated up when Griese was both mowing his lawn and yodelling as the family were praying, and when the police were called he was issued with a summons.
He was charged with the arcane offences of 'disparagement of religious symbols', which is usually reserved for neo-Nazis who desecrate Jewish graves, and 'hindering religious practice'.
Rather than face a protracted court case with all its attendant legal costs, Griese agreed to pay.
The yodel is a song sung with an extended note, which rapidly and repeatedly changes in pitch and makes a high-low-high-low sound.
Developed in the Central Alps as a method of communication between mountaineers or between villages, the yodel later became part of the region's traditional lore and musical expression. (ANI)