Muslims in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have changed the law to allow themselves to broadcast their calls to prayer any time of day throughout the entire year. Now, Minneapolis residents can look forward to hearing loudspeakers play calls to prayer in Arabic in the city at 5:30am some days of the year. The Star Tribune reports:
Minneapolis on Thursday became the first major American city to permit unfettered broadcast of the Muslim call to prayer, allowing the adhan to be heard over speakers five times a day, year-round.
The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to amend the city’s noise ordinance, which had prevented some morning and evening calls at certain times of the year because they occurred at times of the day when tighter noise restrictions are in place.
“The Constitution doesn’t sleep at night,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), after the vote. He said Minneapolis’ action should show the world that a “nation founded on freedom of religion makes good on its promise.”
Thursday’s vote, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, marked the capstone of a years-long effort to allow more calls to be broadcast in Minneapolis, whose burgeoning population of East African immigrants has led to mosques dotting the landscape.
Three council members — Aisha Chughtai, Jeremiah Ellison and Jamal Osman — identify as Muslim. “In a body of 13, that’s a real caucus,” Ellison said before the 12-0 vote (Council Member Andrew Johnson was absent).
Not only was the council vote unanimous, the decision drew no organized community opposition. Mayor Jacob Frey is expected to sign the measure within a week.
“Minneapolis has become a city for all religions,” said Imam Mohammed Dukuly of Masjid An-Nur mosque in Minneapolis, who was among several Muslim leaders who witnessed the vote in the council chambers.
He said the message of the adhan — “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great” — carries a message beyond the specific beliefs of Islam.
Three years ago, city officials worked with the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood to allow the adhan to be broadcast outdoors five times daily during Ramadan. Prayers are said when light appears at dawn, at noon, at mid- to late afternoon, at sunset and when the night sky appears. In Minnesota, dawn arrives as early as before 5:30 a.m. in summer, while sunset at the solstice happens after 9 p.m.
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