QUESTION: What does the amendment to Hamtramck’s noise ordinance permitting call to prayer broadcasts say?
ANSWER: “The City shall permit ‘call to prayer,’ ‘church bells’ and other reasonable means of announcing religious meetings to be amplified between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. for a duration not to exceed 5 minutes.”
Q: When are the call-to-prayer broadcasts scheduled to begin?
A: The ordinance takes effect Wednesday. The Al-Islah Islamic Center intended to start broadcasts on Friday. But a local petition drive to put the issue before voters likely will stall implementation. Tonight, the City Council could vote to rescind the ordinance — considered unlikely because it passed unanimously — or do nothing, which would suspend the issue until a citywide vote.
Q: What is the call to prayer?
A: It’s a summons for Muslims to pray. An English translation of the Arabic, according to Georgetown University professor John Esposito, author of “What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam“:
“God is most great” (repeated four times). Each of the following phrases is repeated twice: “I witness that there is no god but God. I witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God. Come to prayer. Come to prosperity! God is most great.” Repeated once: “There is no god but God.”
Q: How long will the call last?
A: About 2 minutes.
Q: How often will it be heard?
A: Each day, Muslims are called to pray five times, but the times vary based on sunrise and sunset. The Al-Islah center plans to make only three calls to prayer outside, skipping the day’s earliest and latest.
Q: How loud will the broadcast be?
A: Mosque officials expect the call will be heard one or two blocks away. The City Council has the authority to set the decibel level if it gets complaints.
Q: Do mosques in other metro Detroit cities broadcast the call?
A: Most do so within the mosque, but one mosque in Dearborn and several in Detroit broadcast externally.
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