Yeni Safakr as “‘New Jersey city to allow Muslim call to prayer outside mosques” for YeniSafak News 

Ashlee Espinal

The Paterson City Council is set to change its noise ordinance to allow for the Muslim call to prayer, or Adhan, to be broadcast over loudspeakers.

Mosques broadcast Adhan five times a day to call Muslims to prayer. Although an Adhan broadcast over a loudspeaker is commonplace in Muslim countries, it is generally confined to the interiors of mosques in many Western countries.

However, after Paterson Councilman Shahin Khalique on Tuesday proposed a noise ordinance to allow a call to prayer to be broadcast over loudspeakers between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm., Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh put it on the agenda and stated that he wants to place the issue up for a vote by Paterson residents.

“It’s something the council is considering and it’s up for a public discussion. I want to invite everyone from the public to participate in this discussion. Your voices need to be heard,” he said.

“There isn’t anything that precludes the house of worship as far as the culture prayer concern. This is essentially updating what we have, reflecting what the state has already indicated. I believe in freedom of religion but I also answer to the public so I want to hear what our constituents have to say,” he added.

The public discussion will be held at 7:00 pm on Tuesday. There will even be one additional vote for the ordinance over the next month if it is approved by the City Council on Tuesday, according to a report by news 12, a New Jersey daily.

“Some people during the day, they are working. They don’t know what time it is for prayer, so that is why they have the loudspeaker to remind people that time is now for prayer,” says Jamal Ahmed, a Paterson resident.

According to some residents it is no different than church bells.

“I believe that is going to be good for the Muslim community because for the Saturday or Sunday when people want to go to church they ring the bell so that is no problem for them. So, it shouldn’t be a problem for the Muslim community also,” says Esan Alton, another resident from Boonton.

“We applaud Paterson officials for taking this admirable step towards inclusion. Such open-mindedness will sow peace and mutual understanding between the residents of our rich and diverse communities,” Representatives from The Council on American Islamic Relations of New Jersey commented.

Most of the Paterson residents are reportedly in favor of the change but some said that they fear noise disruptions especially late in the evening into the night and early in the morning.