On April 14, 2023, Minneapolis made a historic decision to become the first major U.S. city to allow the Islamic call to prayer, or “adhan”, to be broadcast over speakers at all hours, five times a day, year-round. This announcement marks a significant development in the recognition and accommodation of the city’s muslim community.
What is Adhan?
The Adhan which has a few other variations of spelling, is the Islamic call to prayer that is recited from the mosque by a assigned person. It is given five times a day at the times of the five daily prayers (Salah) – Fajr (dawn), Dhuhr (noon), Asr (afternoon), Maghrib (sunset), and Isha (night). The Adhan serves as a regular reminder of the Islamic faith and the importance of prayer in Muslim life.
The path to this landmark decision was paved three years ago when city officials collaborated with the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque to allow the adhan to be broadcast outdoors five times daily during Ramadan. The calls to prayer take place when light appears at dawn, at noon, at mid-to late afternoon, at sunset, and when the night sky appears. In Minnesota, dawn can arrive as early as before 5:30 a.m. in summer, while sunset at the solstice occurs after 9 p.m. The city had 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.
So, in order to allow all adhan beyond those hours, the city has to amend its noise ordinance which was unanimously agreed upon by the Minneapolis City Council. The vote was notably cast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations affirmed that the action in Minneapolis shows the world that
A nation founded on freedom of religion makes good on its promise
Minneapolis has seen a flourishing population of East African immigrants since at least the 1990s, with mosques now a common sight in the city. Notably, three of the 13 members of the council identify as Muslim. The decision to allow the broadcast of the adhan drew no organized community opposition, demonstrating the city’s commitment to religious diversity and acceptance. Mayor Jacob Frey is expected to sign the measure in the coming week3.
Imam Mohammed Dukuly of Masjid An-Nur mosque in Minneapolis, who was among several Muslim leaders who witnessed the vote, lauded the city’s inclusive spirit, stating,
Minneapolis has become a city for all religions
Leaders from Christian and Jewish communities supported extended hours for the adhan. Council Member Lisa Goodman highlighted that the Jewish call to prayer faces no legal restrictions, emphasizing the need for equal recognition of all religious practices.
The decision by the city of Minneapolis serves as a milestone in the recognition of the Islamic faith in the U.S., reflecting the country’s foundational principles of religious freedom. It remains to be seen how this decision will influence similar measures in other cities across the nation, but the move undeniably marks a step forward toward inclusivity and religious diversity in the United States.