Minneapolis allows Islamic call to prayer five times per day

Local groups welcome the decision to make Minneapolis the first large city in the US with year-round public call to prayer.

A man prayers in a mosque in Minneapolis
A man prays in a mosque in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which will now allow broadcasts of the Muslim call to prayer at all hours year-round [File: Jessie Wardarski/AP Photo]

The Islamic call to prayer, or “adhan”, will soon echo through the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota, as it becomes the first large US city to approve mosques to publicly broadcast the call to prayer five times each day.

The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a resolution making changes to the city’s noise ordinance, which had prevented some morning and evening calls during certain times of year.

“This is a historic victory for religious freedom and pluralism for our entire nation,” Jaylani Hussein, director of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Minnesota branch, said in a statement on Thursday, after the vote. “We thank the members of the Minneapolis City Council for setting this great example, and we urge other cities to follow it.”

The vote took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and has been met with celebration from members of the city’s local Muslim community. The city’s mayor is expected to sign the resolution next Monday.

“Minneapolis has become a city for all religions,” said Imam Mohammed Dukuly of Masjid An-Nur mosque in Minneapolis.

The city allowed year-round broadcast of the call to prayer last year, but only between 7am and 10pm, excluding some morning and evening prayers.

Prayers take place when light appears at dawn, at noon, at late afternoon, at sunset, and when the night sky appears. In Minneapolis, dawn comes as early as 5:30am and sunset after 9pm during certain times of year.

Since the 1990s, Minneapolis has had a vibrant community of immigrants from East Africa, and mosques have become commonplace throughout the city, where three of the 13-member city council identify as Muslim.

The resolution received support from people of numerous faiths in the community, including Christian and Jewish leaders who spoke in favour of extending the hours at a recent public hearing.

The effort faced no mobilised public opposition, notable in a country where efforts to promote mosque activity have sometimes been subjected to Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric.

In 2010, an effort to build a mosque and community space near Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York City, faced vicious pushback from anti-Muslim groups, eventually forcing planners to abandon the effort.

Former US President Donald Trump also leaned into anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies, such as a “Muslim ban” that restricted people from numerous Muslim-majority countries from coming to the United States.

Source: Al Jazeera, The Associated Press