MINNEAPOLIS -- Muslim leaders are praising a change to a noise ordinance that just passed Thursday in Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis City Council voted in approval of a change allowing the call to prayer to be amplified outside on speakers five times a day. It was a 12-0 vote.
"This is a historic victory for religious freedom and pluralism for our entire nation. We thank the members of the Minneapolis City Council for setting this great example, and we urge other cities to follow it," Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said. "We would particularly like to thank Councilmember Aisha Chughtai, who led the effort to pass the resolution."
Previously, rules put limits on the volume (no higher than 70 decibels) and time the calls could be played. Going forward, mosques will be able to broadcast the call as early as 3:30 a.m., and as late as 11 p.m. Up to now, the broadcast was limited to only three or four times per day.
Across the Muslim world, it's customary to hear the Adhan, or the call to prayer, played several times a day throughout entire cities., many members of Minneapolis's Muslim community relied on alarms and timers to know the proper time to pray.
The Adhan, which uses repeated phrases such as "Allahu Akbar," meaning "God is great," allows for Muslims near the mosque to know prayer time is soon to arrive.
"It is a dealbreaker for Muslims. It is really, extremely important," Yusuf Abdulle, executive director of the Islamic Association of North America, told WCCO last year. "When you hear the Adhan, and you're home, or in your office, or wherever you are, you know it's the time. You don't need to look at the time. You go and get ready and go to the prayer."
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