By Laura Osman
The Al Rashid Mosque has stood in Edmonton since 1938, but no one there today can remember ever hearing the daily call to prayer ring out through the loudspeakers.
Usually the musical chant that ushers Muslims into their house of worship for prayer is prohibited under city noise bylaws.
But across Canada, cities are allowing the call, or adhan, during the COVID-19 crisis, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, London, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and other major cities have all made exemptions to the usual rules.
The Al Rashid, Canada’s oldest mosque, livestreams the call online every evening for thousands of people who cannot be there in person.
Some parents have been bringing their children to stand outside the mosque at sundown to hear the call and share the experience they never expected to pass on in Canada.
Some who worship there grew up in countries where Islam is the dominant religion. For them, the sound transports them back to their own childhood, where the adhan was heard ringing through local neighbourhoods five times each day.