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Minneapolis OKs dawn Muslim prayer call, 1st for big US city

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (AP) — Minneapolis will allow broadcasts of the Muslim call to prayer at all hours, becoming the first major U.S. city to allow the announcement or “adhan” to be heard over speakers five times a day, year-round.

The Minneapolis City Council unanimously agreed Thursday to amend the city’s noise ordinance, which had prevented dawn and late evening calls at certain times of the year due to noise restrictions, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The vote came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“The Constitution doesn’t sleep at night,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, after the vote. He said the action in Minneapolis shows the world that a “nation founded on freedom of religion makes good on its promise.”

Minneapolis has had a flourishing population of East African immigrants since at least the 1990s, and mosques now are common. Three of 13 members of the council identify as Muslim. The decision drew no organized community opposition. Mayor Jacob Frey is expected to sign the measure next 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.

Three years ago, city officials worked with the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque 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.

The city allowed year-round broadcasts last year, but only between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. — typically excluding early morning prayer and sometimes night prayer.

At a recent public hearing, Christian and Jewish leaders expressed support for extending the hours for the adhan.

Council Member Lisa Goodman, who on Thursday was observing the final day of Passover, said the Jewish call to prayer — which is generally spoken rather than broadcast — doesn’t face legal restrictions. Observers said church bells regularly toll for Christians.

“It’s something I grew up with, but not my children,” council member Jamal Osman said, adding that hearing the call to prayer from local mosques brings him joy.

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