Muslim call to prayer can be played in New York City without permit

Adhan can also be broadcasted during Ramadan

Men attend Friday prayer at the Masjid Ar-Rahama in New York City.  AFP
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The Muslim call to prayer will ring out more freely in New York City under guidelines announced on Tuesday by Mayor Eric Adams, which he said should foster a spirit of inclusivity in the largest US city.

Under the new rules, Mr Adams said, mosques will not need a special permit to publicly broadcast the Islamic call to prayer, or adhan, on Fridays and at sundown during the holy month of Ramadan.

Friday is the traditional Islamic holy day, and Muslims break their fast at sunset during Ramadan.

The police department’s community affairs bureau will work with mosques to communicate the new guidelines and ensure that devices used to broadcast the adhan are set to appropriate decibel levels, Mr Adams said.

“For too long, there has been a feeling that our communities were not allowed to amplify their calls to prayer,” Mr Adams said.

“Today, we are cutting red tape and saying clearly that mosques and houses of worship are free to amplify their call to prayer on Fridays and during Ramadan without a permit necessary.”

Flanked by Muslim leaders at a City Hall news conference, Mr Adams said Muslim New Yorkers “will not live in the shadows of the American dream while I am the mayor of the city of New York”.

The adhan is a familiar sound in majority-Muslim countries but is heard less frequently in the US.

Officials in Minneapolis made news last year when they moved to allow mosques to broadcast the adhan publicly.

Somaia Ferozi, principal of the Ideal Islamic School in Queens, said New York City's new rules send a positive message to her pupils.

“Our children are reminded of who they are when they hear the adhan,” said Ms Ferozi, who attended Mr Adams's news conference.

“Having that echo in a New York City neighbourhood will make them feel part of a community that acknowledges them.”

Mr Adams, a Democrat, enjoys close relationships with faith leaders from various traditions and has promoted the role of religion in public life.

Updated: August 29, 2023, 9:18 PM