In a significant move towards embracing diversity and religious harmony, Mayor Eric Adams of New York City announced a series of new guidelines on Tuesday.
These guidelines allow the public broadcast of the Muslim call to prayer, also known as the adhan, without requiring a special permit. The objective behind this decision is to encourage unity and understanding among the various communities that make up the city.
Under the updated rules, mosques are now permitted to broadcast the adhan on Fridays and at sunset during the sacred month of Ramadan, all without an additional permit. Fridays carry special significance in the Islamic tradition, and during Ramadan, the adhan marks the end of the daily fast at sunset.
To ensure that the noise levels are reasonable, the police department’s community affairs bureau will collaborate with mosques to ensure that the devices used for broadcasting adhere to acceptable decibel levels. According to the mayor’s office, places of worship can amplify the adhan by up to 10 decibels higher than the surrounding ambient noise.
Mayor Adams stressed, “For too long, there has been a feeling that our communities were not allowed to amplify their calls to prayer. Today, we are cutting through bureaucracy and making it clear that mosques and houses of worship are free to amplify their call to prayer on Fridays and during Ramadan without needing an additional permit.”
During the announcement, he stood alongside leaders from the Muslim community and expressed his commitment to ensuring that Muslim New Yorkers feel truly embraced.
While the adhan is a familiar sound in many countries with predominantly Muslim populations, its resonance in the United States is less frequent. Minneapolis made headlines last year when it allowed mosques to publicly broadcast the adhan.
Afaf Nasher, the executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, underlined the significance of the adhan by emphasizing that azan importance not only includes its call to prayers but also a call for reflection and unity. He further presented his views explaining that this action will contribute to a greater respect for the values of the Muslim community
Somaia Ferozi, the principal of the Ideal Islamic School in Queens, shared her thoughts on the positive influence of this decision as she said that when the children hear the adhan, it reinforces their sense of identity. Having Azan in the neighborhood in New York City will further make them comfortable and they will feel like an integral part of a community that generously acknowledges their presence and respects their values
Mayor Adam is a member of the Democratic Party and has been fostering good relations with leaders belonging to different faiths and has also promoted in public life the role of religion.
However his statements regarding his disbelief on the perspective of separation of church and state have sparked some discussions, A spokesperson clarified that he meant faith guides his decisions rather than advocating for an official merging of church and state.