In a historic move last night marking the first day of Ramadan, the Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer rang out in the Minneapolis Cedar-Riverside neighborhood following the granting of a special permit by Mayor Jacob Frey on Tuesday.
Mayor Frey said the move is intended to help residents maintain safe physical distance during the holy month. Places of worship have been closed to worshipers as the COVID-19 pandemic rages. The mayor’s office in a release sent to Mshale said Frey facilitated the noise permit to honor the community’s request for the service, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) paid for the audio equipment to make the broadcast from Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque possible.
In keeping with the Muslim tradition, the Adhan will be sounded five times per day, beginning at sunrise and ending shortly after sunset.
“At a time when physical distancing requires we pray apart, it’s incumbent on leaders to create a sense of togetherness where we can,” said Frey. “Adhan provides solidarity and comfort – both of which are essential during a time of crisis. As our Muslim community prepares for Ramadan, we hope the broadcast will offer a measure of stability and reassure our entire city that we are all very much in this together.”
CAIR-Minnesota Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said the Adhan be especially meaningful to the many senior citizens in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood who have been isolated due to the pandemic.
“It will help them feel more connected to their community and mosque in this sacred month,” said Hussein.
Imam Sharif Mohamed of Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque praised the mayor’s move saying “In this time of fear and isolation, the Muslim communities of Minnesota benefit from a city that honors and loves all of its diversity.”
The speaker is located outside Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque at South Fifth Street and Cedar Avenue and will be played at volumes consistent with city regulations, reaching thousands of residents in Cedar-Riverside.
You can view and listen to last night’s historic broadcast at this link.
About Tom Gitaa Gitaa
Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Mshale which has been reporting on the news and culture of African immigrants in the United States since 1995. He has a BA in Business from Metro State University and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dish Network satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as the first Black President of the Board of Directors at Books for Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. He has previously served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. An avid runner, he retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on training for half marathons.
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I’m pleased that Mayor Frey made this decision. I’m sure that hearing the Call to Prayer is reassuring and validating to the community during the Holy Month of Ramadan, especially during these difficult and uncertain times.
I’m also happy to have found this publication, which I had not heard of. I love the name, mshale.com. I look forward to getting more familiar with this and reading it more often!
To everyone at mshale.com and to all in the Muslim community, Ramadan Mubarak!
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