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Clarity Coalition Opposes Minneapolis’ Embrace of the Adhan

The Clarity Coalition, which comprises Muslim and non-Muslims opposed to theocratic ideologies such as Islamism, has expressed alarm that the city of Minneapolis has revised an existing noise ordinance to allow the broadcast of the call to prayer, or adhan, over loudspeakers, five times a day, including at dawn. Such measures do not advance religious freedom, but afford special treatment to one community over all others. 

Religious liberty in America is based on the fact that each citizen not only has the right to his or her religious freedom, but is also free from the religious impositions of others. For every privilege a particular faith group is afforded, we must first ask ourselves if it is a right afforded to all other citizens regardless of faith? Proselytizing appeals, broadcast at extraordinary volumes before sunrise and late into the evening among other times, presents a clear infringement upon Muslims and non-Muslims alike.  

Imagine if the public spaces of our diverse society became an ongoing cacophony of broadcasts of competing faith chants and rituals? 

Defenders of the move have likened the adhan to church bells. The adhan, however, is far more Islamically ‘evangelical’ and faith-specific than generic bells. The Clarity Coalition dismisses such false equivalences. After all, how many citizens of Minneapolis have been jolted awake by church bells after the fall of darkness or before the glimpses of first light?  

According to American Muslim-organized surveys, less than three quarters of mosques host prayers five times per day. And according to Pew Research Center, only 42% of Muslims actually pray five times a day. The accommodation by the city council is thus particularly unusual given the fact that the broadcast is hardly a mandate for most Muslim families in their own homes let alone across diverse neighborhoods and public spaces. 

The city’s decision satisfies the agendas of more strident forces that have imposed themselves as leaders of Minnesota’s Muslim communities.  

Let us not ignore who is behind this unusual request and the antithetical ideas they hold. One of the city council members behind the policy change, Jamal Osman, was subject to widespread public criticism in 2022 after it emerged he had published anti-gay and anti-Semitic Facebook posts, in which he referred to Jews as “dogs” and asked, “Where’s Hitler when you need him?”  

That organizations with long Islamist histories backed the change is cause for alarm.  They include the Minnesota branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), whose leaders claimed credit for the new policy. 

Along with its parent organization’s long history of overt anti-Semitism, CAIR-MN regularly provides platforms to extremist speakers, such as Hatem Bazian, who once tweeted two anti-Semitic images that accuse “Ashke-Nazis” of rape, murder and organ-trafficking. CAIR-MN’s former government affairs coordinator, Abubakar Osman, once called for the return of Hitler to “add more jewish casualties to the 6 million he killed in the holocaust.” 

Evidently, these are not the sort of groups that local and city government should listen to when deciding on how best to engage with its constituents. For the city to realize such radical political agendas only further legitimizes extremists’ stranglehold over ordinary American Muslim communities.