The Muslim call to prayer will be broadcast over a loudspeaker five times a day throughout Ramadan in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis.
This will be the first time the call to prayer, usually broadcast from mosques in Muslim countries, will be sounded in Minnesota, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The arrangement was approved by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on April 21 in collaboration with Minnesota’s Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque.
“At a time when physical distancing requires we pray apart, it’s incumbent on leaders to create a sense of togetherness where we can,” Frey said in a news release.
“Adhan provides solidarity and comfort — both of which are essential during a time of crisis,” the Democrat said. “As our Muslim community prepares for Ramadan, we hope the broadcast will offer a measure of stability and reassure or entire city that we are all very much in this together.”
The loudspeaker that the prayer will be broadcast from will be located outside a mosque and will reach “thousands of residents.”
CAIR-Minnesota Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said the Muslim community will “welcome” the mayor’s efforts.
“This call to prayer will be especially meaningful to the many senior citizens in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood who have been isolated due to the pandemic,” Hussein said in the news release.
“It will help them feel more connected to their community and mosque in this sacred month.”
Imam Sharif Mohamed of Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque added, “In this time of fear and isolation, the Muslim communities of Minnesota benefit from a city that honors and loves all of its diversity.”
Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar thanked Frey for his “leadership and solidarity” in an April 22 tweet.
Thank you Mayor for your leadership and solidarity on this ❤️ https://t.co/MvTto1lbZX
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) April 22, 2020
The Cedar-Riverside neighborhood has one of Minnesota’s largest populations of Muslim Americans, with many people coming from Somalia and Ethiopia, the Star Tribune reported.
Minneapolis is not the first U.S. city to broadcast Muslim prayers. Dearborn, Michigan, has done so for years, and the city of Paterson, New Jersey, just approved a request to broadcast prayers in March.
Minneapolis’ broadcast will be different because the prayers will be broadcast from the center of the metropolitan area.
“This is a unique opportunity. It’s a reminder to everyone that we are all in this [pandemic] together,” Hussein said.
“Just as we have historically allowed churches to call out for prayers using a bell, this a continuation of the same freedom that other faiths have had.”
The call to prayer will run through the evening of May 23, the end of Ramadan.