Coronavirus: Islamic call to prayer sparks noise complaints

Coronavirus: Islamic call to prayer sparks noise complaints

The call to prayer rang out at 7:49 on a Saturday evening as the sky glowed pink from the setting sun. Women in hijabs and masks gazed up at the mosque as the Arabic hymn floated down: I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah. Mahmood Nadvi stood on King Fahad Mosque’s roof, 60 feet above the street, nearly level with the palm trees, singing into a handheld microphone. For over 1,000 years, Muslims have relied on the human voice to call the faithful to prayer. It’s become tradition that wherever a mosque is built, there is a place for the muezzin, or prayer caller, said Aslam Abdullah, a Muslim scholar based in San Bernardino. While the adhan echoes five times a day in Islamic countries, like a Roman Catholic church bell signaling Mass, it is unusual to hear the adhan publicly broadcast in the U.S., where it is more likely to be heard in Hollywood movies. Which is what made the scene in a Culver City neighborhood, near a gun shop and a church with a sign reading “Jesus Saves,” unusual. Even historic. Like the life-altering pandemic that inspired it from here to Minnesota to New Jersey during Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. In extraordinary times, when Muslims are unable to break the fast and pray together because COVID-19 has forced mosques to close — as it has some churches and other places of worship — the adhan has brought comfort. Cities across Southern ...
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