It’s now up to voters.
The decision that has split Hamtramck — City Council approval of a noise
ordinance that would have allowed the Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast
on loudspeakers from the Al-Islah Islamic Center — was affirmed by a 5-0
vote Tuesday night.
Because the council didn’t rescind the ordinance, the issue will go before
voters, as required by the city charter. Until then, the city must put the
ordinance on hold because residents filed petitions to stop it from going
into law today.
The issue could be on the ballot as early as July in a special election or
in August, the next regular election.
Even though the ordinance is in limbo, the Al-Islah mosque’s leaders said
Tuesday night they will begin broadcasting the call to prayer in Arabic at
1:30 p.m. Friday.
Masud Khan, secretary of the Al-Islah Islamic Center, said the mosque has a
constitutional right to broadcast the call to prayer, adding that it is
already being done in Detroit and Dearborn.
“If Detroit can do it, why can’t we?” he asked. “We have religious freedom.
We can express our religion.”
The mosque wouldn’t be breaking any laws if it does, said Councilman Shahab
Ahmed. He said the Islamic center was just being a good neighbor when it
asked for the city’s permission in January to begin broadcasting. It won’t
be penalized for using its loudspeakers to broadcast the call to prayer
with or without the ordinance, he said..