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Minneapolis mayor signs change to noise ordinance allowing amplified call to prayer 5 times a day

Minneapolis amends noise ordinance to allow amplified call to prayer 5 times a day
Minneapolis amends noise ordinance to allow amplified call to prayer 5 times a day 02:03

MINNEAPOLIS -- Some members of Minnesota's Muslim community say they scored a victory for religious freedom.

As of Monday, Minneapolis is the first major city in the United States to allow mosques to broadcast all five daily calls to prayer over a loudspeaker. 

"It's a very simple message, to share the greatness of God and to call people to success," said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN.

Five times a day, Muslims gather to pray at mosques. But the broadcast for the pre-dawn and nighttime prayers weren't allowed in Minneapolis until now.

The city eliminated time constraints from the part of its noise ordinance related to religious worship. In the summer, that means the call could go out as early as 3:30 a.m., and as late as 11 p.m.  

"Sometimes you don't hear the Adhan and you sleep, you cannot wake up and come to the Adhan. Now it's clear, like crystal. You hear and you'll be happy to come and pray and join," said Minneapolis resident Omar Mohamed. 

Leaders in the Muslim community say only a couple of the city's mosques currently broadcast the call to prayer at all, but more may now start.

"We built America on this basic principle of freedom of religion, and so today actually, it's a victory for our Constitution, because our Constitution is for all Americans, not just some Americans," Hussein said.

Imam Sharif Mohamed of Dar Al-Hijrah mosque says he would encourage mosques in neighborhoods where most people are not Muslim to refrain from all five calls. For his mosque, he expects this change will attract more people.

"What we provide in the mosque is not only for the spiritual, but also we do a lot of other part of the healing, too, because we believe in mind, body and soul," Mohamed said.

The Minneapolis City Council approved the ordinance change unanimously. Three of the 13 council members are Muslim.

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