Minnesota is the first major city in the United States to publicly broadcast the Muslim call to prayer following the passage of a city council resolution.
Known as the adhan, the Arabic chant is played five times a day to call Muslim men to prayer.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for us to reach our neighbors and the wider community, but first and foremost it’s an opportunity for us as Muslims. It reminds us of back home,” Imam Mowlid Ali told Al Jazeera on July 5.
“It reminds us that we belong here. It reminds us that we’re not hiding our faith,” he added. “In a way, it increases our confidence and also our sense of belonging to this community.”
During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque was granted special permission to play the call to prayer publicly during the month of Ramadan so that worshippers could hear the call from their homes.
The Dar-Al Hijrah mosque is in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood which “in recent years has become one of the most densely populated areas of Islamic immigrants in the country, principally coming from Somalia and Ethiopia,” notes BizPacReviw. “It was in that neighborhood that two years ago, a group of Muslims was reported to be patrolling the area, confronting people who were not following tenets of Sharia law.”
Minneapolis city council member Jamal Osman, one of the three members of the legislative body’s Muslim collation, announced in March of 2022 that the council had agreed to permit the call to prayer all year-round.
Mosques do not need to apply for a permit to play the adhan on loudspeakers between 7 A.M. and 10 P.M. as long as they do not violate the city’s noise ordinance. Minneapolis does not permit broadcasts to exceed 70 decibels.
Accordingly, the dawn prayer, called the fajr, would not be permitted to be played outside the mosque.
“For the faith of Christians in Minneapolis, the tolling of church bells is an affirmation of their faith and the comfort that brings that’s exactly the same purpose of adhan service for Muslims,” the council member told the Star Tribune.
“If some mosques want to broadcast dawn prayers, we can advocate for that,” Osman added. “This is a moment to celebrate and a lot of people in the community are happy about this.”
The adhan repeats the phrase “Allahu Akbar” which translates to “God is great,” per CBS News.
There are an estimated 150,000 Muslims in Minneapolis, which has about 20 mosques.