The installation is simple, but the issues surrounding it have grown far more complex than anyone expected.

They have thrust a city known for its Polish Catholic heritage into a nasty war of words over religious rights and the

standing of Islam in America.

The controversy mushroomed from a local squabble over a mosque’s simple desire to broadcast the call to prayer to one that

has captured headlines around the world. Newspapers in the Middle East, Europe and Asia have run reports. Hamtramck City

Council members have been pelted with e-mails from across the United States and abroad.

People from all over metro Detroit — from pastors and imams to lawyers and white supremacists — also have joined the fray.

A noise ordinance amendment allowing the broadcasts passed unanimously last month, but the furor over the issue could come to

a head again tonight.

That’s when opponents will have their last chance to persuade the City Council to rescind the amendment. But the council

isn’t likely to reconsider its earlier vote, and so the debate — for the moment — may be moot.

The ordinance was to take effect Wednesday, but a petition drive may have stopped it. Acting City Clerk Genevieve Bukoski

said she will notify the council today that the petitions have been certified.

Under the city charter, if the council declines to rescind the amendment after receiving the petitions, the ordinance is

automatically put on hold and becomes a ballot initiative. Voters will decide at a special election or in August, the next

scheduled election.

“I haven’t seen any indication from anyone on the council that they’re changing,” City Council President Karen Majewski said



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