A Minneapolis City Council committee recently approved a change to the city’s code of ordinances that would allow mosques to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer five times a day year round.
If the ordinance passes the full council, Minneapolis will be the first “major city” to allow the call to prayer to be broadcast five times per day.
“Today, we are asking you to do something historic. Today we are asking you to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America,” Jaylani Hussein, executive director for Minnesota’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told a City Council committee last month.
The call to prayer was first allowed beginning in 2020 during Ramadan. In 2022, it was allowed year round. However, current city noise ordinances do not allow the call to prayer to be broadcast before 7 a.m. or after 10 p.m. This means only three of the five daily calls to prayer can be broadcast.
“We have been hoping to get the call to prayer here in Minneapolis, and we are unable to do that unless we change the ordinance,” Hussein said.
“After this all completely passes, Minneapolis will be the first major city to allow for the call of prayer; among the beautiful things happening this month will be another wonderful celebration,” he added.
Council Member Aisha Chugtai’s proposal would remove language from the code of ordinances that limits religious sounds to the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. It also adds “amplified equipment” to a list of religious exemptions, which already includes bells and chimes.
“This change is allowed under existing state statute, meaning Minneapolis’ existing regulations are more restrictive than what the state allows for,” Chugtai said.
During the public comment period, residents spoke both for and against the proposed changes, with critics saying the language is poorly worded.
The full Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey will need to approve the changes to the noise ordinance before it becomes law.