HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (AP) – A noise-ordinance change that would allow mosques to broadcast calls to prayer on loudspeakers will be put to a citywide vote after opponents gathered hundreds of petition signatures.
The more than 630 signatures submitted to the city clerk’s office were enough to force the City Council to rescind the amended ordinance or put it to a vote.
“We decided not to rescind the amendment, so it goes to the ballot,” council president Karen Majewski said Tuesday night.
The council had voted unanimously last month to allow the Bangladeshi Al-Islah Mosque to broadcast the call to prayer five times a day.
The issue has divided this blue-collar city of 23,000, which once was overwhelmingly Polish and Roman Catholic but now has a sizable Muslim population.
It was not immediately known when the vote would be held in this enclave surrounded by the city of Detroit, but it is likely to be in the next few months.
In the meantime, Majewski said, the mosque can go ahead with its calls to prayer.
Although the city’s noise ordinance did not prohibit calls to prayer, attorneys for the city had recommended amending the law to specifically allow it, which would also allow the city council to regulate the noise.
The Al-Islah mosque plans to begin broadcasting the calls on Friday.
Abdul Motlib, head of the mosque, said he was confident the measure would win a citywide vote.
“Hamtramck has 23,000 people. If 500 or 600 people go against us, we’re not losing nothing.”