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CAIR-MN, religious leaders support noise ordinance change to allow Islamic call to prayer in Minneapolis

Dozens showed up to testify to allow the Islamic call to prayer to be broadcast from loudspeakers for all five daily prayers.

MINNEAPOLIS — It was standing room only, as dozens of people packed inside Minneapolis City Council chambers.

"I want to thank Councilmember Aisha Chughtai and the two other Muslim councilmembers," said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN).

Organizers with CAIR-Minnesota and Muslim leaders from area mosques are hoping to change the noise ordinance in Minneapolis to allow for a call to prayer to be broadcast from loudspeakers for all five daily prayers.

"Right now, the city of Minneapolis doesn't allow for any noise to happen before 7 a.m. or after 10 p.m. and unfortunately for the Muslim community, we have been hoping to get the call to prayer here in Minneapolis and we are unable to do that unless we change the ordinance," he said. 

Most Muslims are supposed to pray five times a day – at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and evening.

The current ordinance only allows for three Islamic "calls to prayer" daily. 

"After this all completely passes, Minneapolis will be the first major city to allow for the call of prayer, among the beautiful things happening this month will be another wonderful celebration," he said.

Muslim leaders say this latest amendment would be historic with support from other interfaith religious leaders across the state – and some council members – as this latest effort moves forward. 

"To be clear, the language does not give preference to one religion over another. In the simplest term, we are aligning our ordinance with what the state law allows," said Councilmember Chughtai, who helped draft the resolution.

Hussein says he hopes - in the end - the latest change will lead to more inclusivity in Minnesota.   

"That symbol that signifies, that not only are they welcome here, but they are also here; they are a part of the fabric and diversity of this city and state," he said.

The amendment now heads to the city council, and will then move forward to the mayor's office once approved.

Muslim leaders say they hope after the amendment moves forward, other cities - locally and nationwide - will follow suit.


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