NYC mosques embrace call to prayer

In a city where the buzz of life never seems to quiet, a new melody is finding its place as New York City mosques take on the task of broadcasting the call to prayer. Mayor Eric Adams recently revealed this noteworthy change, aiming to find a middle ground between the city’s cultures and the potential noise concerns.

The call to prayer, also known as the Adhan or Azan, holds a deep significance within the Islamic faith, serving as a harmonious call to gather for communal prayer. But in a sprawling metropolis like New York, where stories and sounds collide, this centuries-old tradition isn’t without its complexities.

Under the updated guidelines, mosques now have the freedom to broadcast the call to prayer every Friday between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. This time frame, falling right in the heart of the city’s bustling day, offers a unique juxtaposition of faith and city life. Additionally, during the holy month of Ramadan, the evening call to prayer is also permitted, aligning with a significant spiritual period for Muslims.

Mayor Eric Adams’ stance on this issue centers on making it easier for places of worship to practice their faith without bureaucratic hurdles.

Yet, threading the connection between religious devotion and the urban environment is far from straightforward. To maintain a balance the Community Affairs Bureau of the New York Police Department is closely collaborating with mosques to ensure that the volume of the broadcast remains respectful, to the surrounding neighborhoods.

In a bid to uphold the urban atmosphere that residents hold dear and to pay due respect to religious customs, New York City has adopted a proactive strategy. By establishing predetermined noise levels for the broadcast of calls to prayer, the city aims to harmonize the needs of the community and the practices of faith. This move mirrors a prevailing pattern found in various American cities, Minneapolis included, where the public broadcast of calls to prayer is on the rise.
Afaf Nasher, director of the New York chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations emphasizes that beyond its reach the call to prayer holds significance as a symbol of community and unity. As this melodious call resonates throughout the cityscape it transcends sound.


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