Minneapolis becomes first major US city to allow broadcast of 5 Islamic calls to prayer

Minneapolis became the first major city in America to allow the Islamic call to prayer to be broadcast from mosques publicly for each of the five daily prayers after a unanimous vote by the City Council Thursday. 

The resolution, authored by Council member Aisha Chughtai, one of three Muslim representatives of the 13-member council, amended the noise violation exemption related to sounds associated with religious worship.

"It is really important for us at the city to approach all issues from a lens of ensuring equal access for all people. And that's what we've really done here. This is an item that benefits people of all faith," she said just before the vote. 

The Minnesota chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations had helped push for the change, which allowed some morning and evening calls that had previously been prohibited. 

"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," CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said in a press release. 


Call to prayer to be broadcast in Cedar-Riverside during Ramadan in Minneapolis

To allow Minneapolis residents to pray together during Ramadan while maintaining social distance during the coronavirus pandemic, Adhan—the call to prayer—will be played over a loudspeaker in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood five times per day for the duration of the Islamic holy holiday.  

Council member Lisa Goodman began her comments by reciting the "Barechu," the Hebrew call to prayer in Judaism. "I am thrilled that my colleagues have brought forward this ordinance change today because what I learn at my temple … is that the importance of interfaith dialog and understanding transcends everything else. It transcends politics, agreements, and disagreements because we can come together around a common good," she said. 

Council member Jamal Osman, who represents the city’s Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, said he grew up listening to the call to prayer, but his children haven’t had the same experience. 

"And now visiting Cedar Riverside Mosque and hearing that is nothing but a joy. At the same time, we also know that we live in a city with multiple faiths, and we have nothing but respect for everyone that lives in the city of Minneapolis," he added. 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is expected to sign it on Monday.