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Islamic call to prayer over loudspeaker closer to approval

The Associated Press
Apr. 27, 2004 • Wednesday April 28, 2004

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (AP) Only an mayoral veto could stand between a mosque and its bid to issue a five-times-daily call to prayer over a loudspeaker.

About the Adhan (Call to Prayer)

The Islamic call to prayer is performed five times a day: at dawn, noon, late afternoon, dusk and evening (the exact times can vary). Across most of the United States, the call is done inside the mosque; in much of the rest of the world, it is done outside the mosque, often through loud speakers.

English translation of the Call to Worship:
“God is great” (four times);
“I testify there is no other God but God” (twice);
“I testify Muhammad is the messenger of God” (twice);
“Come and pray” (twice);
“Come and flourish” (twice);
“God is great “(twice);
“There is no God but God” (once).
Translation by Masud Khan, secretary of Al-Islah Islamic Center, Hamtramck

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to amend the Detroit enclave’s noise ordinance to allow the Bangladeshi al-Islah mosque to carry the call to prayer between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The amendment will take effect 20 days after it is officially published unless vetoed by Mayor Thomas Jankowski, who has indicated he will not do so, WJBK-TV reported.

The loudspeaker-borne prayers have caused ethnic and religious friction in Hamtramck, a blue-collar city of 23,000 that once was overwhelmingly Polish. In recent years, it has become much more diverse; only 23 percent of the city’s residents specified Polish ancestry in the 2000 census.

Some Muslims say the call is the equivalent of church bells. Opponents argue that church bells have no religious significance and that allowing the Islamic call, which lasts less than two minutes, unfairly elevates that religion above others.

Masud Khan, secretary of the al-Islah mosque, has said the purpose of the call is not to proselytize.

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