A holy war of sorts is heating up in a Detroit suburb, where members of the local Muslim community want loudspeakers on mosques to announce the Islamic call to prayer five times each day.
But the idea is running into opposition from other residents of Hamtramck, Mich., many of whom are Christian, who think the prayer calls as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 10 p.m. would be disruptive.
“When you call to prayer, you are proselytizing, and as a citizen of the United States I don’t want to hear it,” Bob Golen, 68, told the Detroit Free Press.
“It is not my God. My God is Jesus Christ,” Caroline Zarski, 81, said. “I don’t want this noise invading my home at 10 p.m.”
The Al-Islah Islamic Center asked the city three months ago to alter its noise ordinance to allow the calls to prayer. In February, the council reportedly supported the change but sought a public hearing before making any change.
“We don’t want to make it a big deal,” said businessman Abdul Algazali, according to the Free Press. “It’s a low-pitched voice. It’s not going to wake up anybody.”
Majewski says the loudspeaker measure is likely to pass at next week’s meeting, and would subsequently take effect in late May.
“Petitions have circulated among mainly white and Christian members of the community for weeks asking the council not to amend the ordinance,” said Councilman Scott Klein. “Both sides have issued threats of federal lawsuits based on the constitutionality of the ban or the removal of the ban.”
There are five mosques in Hamtramck, and three others just over the border in Detroit.
On its website, the city says it provides “A Touch of THE WORLD In America,” touting itself as “the home of the most varied ethnic mix of people and customs from around the world.”
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