Will he have to rely on his lungs after all?
The game may not be over in Hamtramck, Michigan, where the muezzin’s prayer call will soon resound all over the city via loudspeakers. From the Detroit Free Press, with thanks to Nicolei:
A petition drive began Friday to stop a new law that will allow mosques in Hamtramck to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer over loudspeakers.
Organizers say they are certain they’ll get the required 552 signatures to force the City Council to reverse its April 27 decision.
“There are some people, including Muslims, who don’t want the call to prayer,” said resident Robert Zwolak, 63.
“The ballot box is the best place for people to voice their opinion.”
If the campaign gets enough signatures and the council refuses to reverse its decision, the ordinance would be suspended automatically. It would then become a ballot issue, according to the city charter.
But for now, the ordinance, which goes into effect May 26, has created tension mostly between the city’s Muslims and Polish Catholics. It will allow the city’s mosques to say the call to prayer in Arabic five times a day.
Zwolak, one of the petition campaign’s organizers, said it is not anti-Muslim, but an attempt to bring peace back to the city.
“I hope we can succeed in calming people’s feelings down,” he said.
City Councilman Shahab Ahmed said the petition campaign is an effort to revive what was becoming a nonissue.
“Now, it’s going to divide the community more,” he said. “How is it possible to stop someone from calling to prayer? We can stop the noise — not the religion.”
The petition asks the Hamtramck City Council to repeal the amendment to the city’s noise ordinance.
“It’s not like I’m doing anything against them,” Zwolak said of the Muslim community. “It’s noise. That’s where the issue is.