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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Religious freedom triumphs in Minneapolis as adhan restrictions are lifted

Minneapolis has allowed the Islamic call to prayer, seen as a victory for religious freedom and acknowledging the diverse community.

Minneapolis, the largest city in Minnesota, is set to become the first major US city to allow the Islamic call to prayer, or adhan, to be broadcast over loudspeakers five times a day, year-round. The city council unanimously voted to change the city’s noise code, which previously prohibited the calls during certain times of the year. The move was prompted by the sacred month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast and offer additional prayers. Muslim officials, including Imam Mohammed Dukuly of Minneapolis’s Masjid An-Nur mosque, were present for the vote and expressed optimism about the city’s future.

History of the Muslim community

Minneapolis has been home to a thriving East African immigrant community since at least the 1990s. Many of the city’s mosques reflect this population, and as a result, the city has a diverse Muslim community. Muslims are estimated to make up around 6% of the population of Minneapolis, with some estimates putting the number closer to 10%. Over the years, the city’s Muslim community has faced various challenges, including discrimination and a lack of resources. Despite these challenges, the community has continued to grow and thrive.

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Islamic call to prayer 

The adhan, or Islamic call to prayer, is an important part of Islamic worship. It is traditionally made from the top of a mosque’s minaret, but in modern times, it is often broadcast over loudspeakers. The adhan announces the time for each of the five daily prayers, which are mandatory for Muslims. The adhan is heard around the world, and the style of the call can vary by region. In some places, the call is sung, while in others, it is spoken. The adhan is considered a powerful reminder of God’s presence and a way for Muslims to feel connected to their faith community.

Noise code

Before the recent change in the city’s noise code, the adhan was only permitted to be broadcast during Ramadan and only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Early morning and night prayers were excluded. The new law will allow the adhan to be broadcast five times a day, year-round, during the prescribed prayer times. The adhan will be heard at dawn, noon, mid to late afternoon, sunset, and the first visible stars in the night sky.

Reaction to the change

The Minneapolis city council’s decision has received praise from Muslim leaders and community members. It is being regarded as a significant step towards acknowledging the city’s diverse community and upholding religious freedom. Moreover, Christian and Jewish leaders have also expressed their support for the extended hours for the adhan. Lisa Goodman, a council member, pointed out that the Jewish call to prayer is not restricted by any laws as it is traditionally spoken rather than broadcast. Council member Jamal Osman, who is Muslim, shared his personal experience of finding comfort in hearing the call to prayer from local mosques, which is something he grew up with but not his children.

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Minneapolis’s decision is a significant step toward greater religious freedom and inclusivity. The move recognizes the city’s diverse community and the importance of the adhan to Muslims around the world. The change is also a reminder of the power of religious expression and the importance of respecting the beliefs and traditions of others. By allowing the adhan to be heard, Minneapolis is sending a message of acceptance and unity that can serve as an example to other communities around the world.