MI: Residents Debate Prayer Call



Dozens of people came together Thursday evening at the Al-Islah Islamic
Center in Hamtramck to talk about what they have in common in the
religiously divided city.

They talked about being immigrants or the children of immigrants. They
talked about how Christians, Muslims and Jews all believe in one God.

"I really feel this is the key to bringing peace and harmony," said William
Hood, a longtime resident.

The event was billed the Unity in the Community open house, an opportunity
for Christians, Muslims and other residents in the city to get to know each
other.

Hamtramck has been divided largely along religious lines over a noise
ordinance that allows the Al-Islah to broadcast the call to prayer via a
loudspeaker.

Some residents opposed the broadcasting of the call to prayer, which
traditionally is said five times a day, because they said it adds to noise
pollution and imposes Islam on them. The controversy has attracted
worldwide attention.

In a special election on July 20, voters will decide whether to appeal the
ordinance that regulates the call to prayer and church bells in the city.
The ordinance, which the City Council approved in April, has been on hold
pending the outcome of the election.

Even though the ordinance is on hold, Al-Islah has been broadcasting the
call to prayer three times a day since May 28 -- the earliest and latest
prayers are not broadcast. Mosque leaders said they won't say prayers early
in the morning or late at night because they are honoring the intent of the
ordinance

 


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