This story comes to you from Sahan Journal, a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing authentic news reporting about Minnesota's new immigrants and refugees. MPR News is a partner with Sahan Journal and will be sharing stories between SahanJournal.com and MPRNews.org.
The call to prayer, known as the adhan, is a special sound for many Muslims. It reminds the faithful, five times a day, that it’s time to pray.
But unlike in Muslim-majority countries where the adhan is broadcast over an outdoor loudspeaker, many Muslims in the United States have to be inside a mosque to hear it.
And with Minnesota’s stay-at-home order in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the holy month of Ramadan just around the corner, Muslims are stuck inside their homes, unable to go to the mosque to hear the adhan and perform their prayers.
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Thanks to a new partnership between the city of Minneapolis and community members, Muslims in Minneapolis will be able to hear the sound of adhan as they hunker down in their homes.
For the first time in the history of Minneapolis, the adhan will be played over a loudspeaker in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood during the month of Ramadan, which is expected to begin Thursday evening.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey allowed the permit and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) paid for the audio equipment.
The speaker will be placed outside Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center near the intersection of South Fifth Street and Cedar Avenue. It will be played at volumes consistent with city regulations. Thousands of residents living nearby should be able to hear the adhan.
“All over the world Muslims understand and feel great comfort in the public call to prayer,” said Imam Sharif Mohamed of Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque. “In this time of fear and isolation, the Muslim communities of Minnesota benefit from a city that honors and loves all of its diversity.”
In a statement, Frey said he hoped the daily broadcasts would give some stability and reassurance to city residents as Muslims prepare for Ramadan.
“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. “Adhan provides solidarity and comfort – both of which are essential during a time of crisis.”
The adhan will reverberate across the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood five times a day, from dawn to shortly after sunset.
“The 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,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-Minnesota. “It will help them feel more connected to their community and mosque in this sacred month.”