American city will consider allowing mosques to broadcast call to prayer over loudspeakers

City Council will allow mosques in Paterson to broadcast the Adhan or the Muslim call to prayer.

The wailing call to prayer of Islam could soon be echoing through the streets of Paterson, N.J., reports the Paterson Times; a proposed ordinance before the City Council will allow mosques in Paterson to blast the “Adhan” for all to hear.

The Dutch city of Amsterdam recently ruled out the broadcast calls to prayer, saying they are unnecessary in the era of smartphone apps. The imam of a mosque there actually admitted that the noisy broadcasts were an attempt to insinuate Islam into European life.

Under the New Jersey ordinance, mosques will be allowed to use loudspeakers to announce the call to prayer during a 16-hour span. The ordinance states: “The city shall permit ‘Adhan’, call to prayer’, ‘church bells’ and other reasonable means of announcing religious meetings to be amplified between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. for duration not to exceed five minutes.”

Councilman Shahin Khalique proposed the ordinance on Tuesday night as an amendment to the existing noise control ordinance. Council members discussed the measure for three minutes.

Paterson has approximately 30,000 Muslims and a dozen mosques across the city. Mosques make the call to prayer five times a day, but the sound is not amplified outside the buildings.

Khalique has portrayed himself as a pious Muslim to his supporters, but encountered a public-relations hurdle earlier in the month when it was revealed he had been arrested for intoxicated driving by New Jersey State Police in 2010.

Council members will consider the measure for preliminary approval in late February.


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