The Muslim call to prayer will be broadcast the traditional five times a day in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, beginning with the start of Ramadan this week and continuing through the end of the religious holiday in May.
It will be the first time the call to prayer, commonly broadcast from mosques in Muslim nations, will be heard in Minnesota.
Designed to encourage Muslims to maintain safe distancing during a holiday typically marked by community prayer, the arrangement was approved Tuesday by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, working in collaboration with Minnesota’s Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque.
“At a time when physical distancing requires we pray apart, it’s incumbent on leaders to create a sense of togetherness where we can,” said Frey in a news release. “Adhan [the call to prayer] provides solidarity and comfort, both of which are essential during a time of crisis.”
The Cedar-Riverside neighborhood is home to one of the largest populations of Muslim Americans in Minnesota. The majority are from east African nations such as Somalia and Ethiopia.
Imam Sharif Mohamed of the neighborhood’s Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque said the broadcasts are a way to remind the faithful that they “are not alone,” even as they’ve spent weeks inside their homes.
“This is a reconnection, a calming, to give people assurance that we are with you,” said Mohamed. “That’s what we try to achieve.”