It is precisely 2:45 p.m. Friday afternoon, and an evocative male voice penetrates the cold winter air.

“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,” the man sings in simple and repetitive musical notes. The message is in Arabic, and translates to, “God is the greatest.”

The Islamic call to prayer, or Adhan, summons Muslims for ritual prayers five times each day.

In Kensington, the call to prayer is amplified by a loud speaker perched atop the Masjid Nur Al-Islam mosque at 21 Church Avenue.

The broadcast continues for about two minutes, resonating through a part-commercial, part-residential section of the neighborhood.

The Adhan can be heard from blocks away, and that is no accident. Imam Abuismail Tahoor Ahmed explains this is an important aspect of the tradition.

“It reaches out to the masses,” said Ahmed. “It reminds them of their obligation.”

But this tradition is the focus of a delicate community controversy. The debate weighs two “rights” citizens cherish: religious freedom and good ol’ fashioned peace and quiet.

At a recent Dahill Neighborhood Association meeting, Captain Peter DeBlasio was met with a chorus of complaints.

DeBlasio, commanding officer of the 66th Precinct, was invited to the forum to update community members on local policing initiatives, but much of the conversation focused on noise emanating from the Church Avenue facility.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.