CHICAGO: A Muslim member of the Minneapolis City Council who successfully sponsored a law to permit the broadcast of the Adhan “Call to Prayer” from the city’s nearly 40 mosques, said on Wednesday that it can easily be approved in many other cities across America.
Jamal Osman, who was elected to the city council in August 2020, told Arab News during The Ray Hanania Radio Show that the approval for the Adhan “Call to Prayer” was within existing Minneapolis laws which permits music, sounds and verbal recitations to be played publicly as long as they do not exceed a certain “decibel noise” ceiling.
After exploring the law, Osman determined that if the level of the “Call to Prayer” remained under the legal decibel sound ceiling, it would be approved to be broadcast from the city’s mosques between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m every day, and year round.
“There will be four prayers that will be accepted, leaving the Fajr prayer behind. The mosques here and the community are happy,” Osman said of the passage of the Adhan law on March 24.
“But some of the mosques here and the leaders of the mosques, the masjids, they realize they want to be respectful to non-believers and they want to be respectful to their neighbors. And some of them actually decided not to call to prayer right away but to have a community engagement to welcome their neighbors and letting them know the policies of the city now allows us to call to prayer from the rooftops of the mosques. And I think the experience and the feedback we had for the entire city of Minneapolis has been nothing but positive.”
Osman said that Minneapolis permitted one mosque to broadcast the Adhan during the month of Ramadan three years ago. He said that the public broadcast of the Fajr prayer is prohibited under the new law because it occurs too early in the morning.
“We hear the call to prayer and you know the emotional attachment with the folks that live here, in the countries where they grew up they could hear the Adhan and now hearing the Adhan from the comfort of their house was really moving,” said Osman, who came to America as a refugee from Somalia in 2000.
“The mayor and city council members here, and the State of Minnesota have been really kind to the Muslim community. It says a lot about our state and our city. We have many elected officials at every level of government here. Minneapolis is a beautiful city that we call home.”
Osman praised city and state officials for “warmly embracing” the Muslim community and working with them to make it happen.
The new law was adopted unanimously by all 13 members of the Minneapolis City Council, which includes only three Muslim members and 10 non-Muslim members.
“It was everybody. And it wasn’t just voted, they commented and welcomed and we had many council members that have a different faith,” Osman said.
“I talked with one council member who is, who practices Judaism and is Jewish, and she said this is really beautiful and it is about time that they recognize our different faiths. One of the things that she mentioned was that we have the Christmas Day off. Judaism and Islam, we have days like the Eid and Hannukah, and different days that we might not be off working, but one day we might get there.”
Osman said the goal was not to create an annoyance for non-Muslims who live near the mosques. He said the Muslim community wanted to be respectful to the non-Muslim majority community. The Call to Prayer, he acknowledged, is not as loud as it is in many Arab Countries where the sound exceeds the Minneapolis decibel sound limits.
“The purpose is not just to broadcast it for the entire city to hear, the purpose is to broadcast it like in the area that is close to it (mosque). People that are standing in the parking lot trying to come into the building, or across the street from the mosque, so they know it is time to prayer,” Osman said.
“We have created this policy to make sure we are being equal to the communities and not really trying to offend anyone or make sure we are not disturbing anyone. Like I say, it has been positive. It has been happening three years for the month of Ramadan for one mosque. Now making it for the entire city has been positive. And like the mosque we want to be respectful, the Muslim community wants to be respectful to their non-Muslim community in the area. They do want to be respectful and have that conversation with them. Some of them have decided to wait until they have that conversation with their neighbors. So, we live in a beautiful country with laws, and we are not breaking the laws, we are following the laws and making the laws that reflect the entire community.”
The Ray Hanania Show is broadcast live on the US Arab Radio Network Wednesdays at 5 p.m. EST and syndicated on four American radio stations including: WNZK AM 690 Radio in Greater Detroit including parts of Ohio; WDMV AM 700 in Washington DC including parts of Virginia and Maryland; WTOR AM 770 Radio in Upper New York and Ontario, Canada; and rebroadcast on Thursdays in Chicago at 12 noon CST on WNWI AM 1080.
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