Windsor Mosque broadcasts call to prayer over loudspeaker for first time, due to COVID-19 pandemic
The Islamic call to prayer will be recited live over a loudspeaker around 8:37 p.m. on Tuesday
For the first time in its history, the Windsor Islamic Association broadcast the Adhan, or Muslim call to prayer, at sunset over a loudspeaker on the roof of the Windsor Mosque.
Mirza Baig, president of the Windsor Islamic Association, said a number of mosque members made requests to broadcast the Adhan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, because they're unable to congregate at the mosque as a result of physical distancing measures that remain in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Under normal circumstances, Muslims come together at the mosque, especially after they break their fast in the evening," Baig said.
"Now with the social distancing measures and the ban on gathering more than five people, our community members are missing all the activities that are typical for Ramadan."
WATCH | The Windsor Islamic Association broadcasts the Adhan for the first time
Baig said his organization petitioned Ward 10 Coun. Jim Morrison, as well as Mayor Drew Dilkens, for permission to temporarily waive noise bylaws in order to broadcast the call to prayer over a loudspeaker.
According to Windsor resident Sadiq Pirani, he initially contacted city councillors about temporarily waiving the noise bylaw, and was told to file a request with chief administrative officer Onorio Colucci.
The city formally approved the request on Tuesday morning.
"It was a great feeling," said Pirani, who previously ran for city council in 2018. "The call for prayer is also a message for not only just one community, but for all of us who are living in Windsor, in Ontario, in Canada."
Morrison said the request was approved as a one-time measure specifically due to restrictions on gatherings larger than five people brought on by the coronavirus.
We're happy and thankful that [the city] found time to look at our request ...- Mirza Baig, President, Windsor Islamic Association
"This is strictly for this year," he said.
Morrison added that other faith groups across the city are welcome to apply for a similar waiver.
Nonetheless, Morrison said he's received comments from residents who've said they're happy simply knowing the Adhan will play.
"Just knowing that it is happening, it gives them a sense of belonging," he said.
Call to prayer intended as symbolic, says Windsor Islamic Association
In Muslim-majority countries, the Adhan is typically broadcast five times a day — corresponding with the five times each day that Muslims are expected to pray.
Baig said his organization will only broadcast the Adhan corresponding to the Maghrib, or sunset, prayer.
"This was more symbolic," he said. "It's just to give a feeling so that their spirits are uplifted and they feel more like normal, even sitting at home while still observing the social distancing."
He added that community members should continue to follow physical distancing rules and not come to the mosque for prayer.
"This one technically is not a call for people to come to the mosque," Baig said. "They have to still stay at home and observe all the other precautions and all the COVID-19 restrictions that are in place."
The Adhan was broadcast on Tuesday around 8:37 p.m., and will continue every night at sunset until the end of Ramadan, on May 23.
Imam Mohamed Mahmoud with the Windsor Mosque will recite the Adhan live.
Baig said his organization will adjust the volume of the prayer as needed, in order to avoid disturbing neighbours in the area.
"We will keep it in a limit where it's not going to bother anyone," he said.
"I'm sure people are going to like it.:
Windsor isn't the only city to allow a mosque to broadcast the Adhan during Ramadan. Toronto, Mississauga, Ottawa and Brampton are just a handful of cities that have made exemptions to noise bylaws.