Amplified Islam

Barbara Simpson, KSFO/San Francisco radio talk show host and weekly contributor to WorldNetDaily, reports a recent city council vote in Hamtramck, Michigan:
That council vote allows the seven mosques in the city to broadcast – over loudspeakers – the daily Islamic call to prayer.
In Arabic – five times a day, two to three minutes each time, between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Here’s the city council’s rationale:
They say it’s their “religious freedom” and part of America. They say the sound of the call to prayer is no different from church bells, trains or even ice cream trucks! They say the call is Islamic tradition.
(That tradition is practiced in places where Islam is the state religion and the mosque is the centerpiece of the entire community.)
Barbara counters that “the broadcasts are prayers – not like church bells, which are music,” and states that this vote “puts Islam above other religions.” Hey, it puts Islam above secular institutions, too. No establishment of any kind has the right to blast live or prerecorded speech on their stereos loud enough for an entire neighborhood – much less an entire town – to hear.



  1. Pat

    The response should be simple. All Christian churches and synagogues should immediately buy some loudspeakers and begin to read verses from thier respective religions several times a day in many neighborhoods. Let’s see how long it takes for the city council to make a change in policy.

  2. Sam

    Theoretically, any religion that wishes to broadcast publicly in this city should be allowed to. This means Christians can read verses, the Jews can have this Shivas alarm, Pagans can chant to their hearts content, and atheists can yell “God is dead” through the loudspeakers as much as they want.
    However, when will the claim about disturbing the peace come about? Too loud a call to prayer and you annoy the neighbors.

  3. Alan K. Henderson

    I could rent some office space within Bose-enhanced earshot of City Hall and plug in the audiobook version of The Vision of the Anointed for all my neighbors to enjoy.

  4. sean doyle

    since the koran/quran seems to be the medium of law, can’t the zealots be asked to provide sura references for the need for amplifation of these messages?
    otherwise i like the suggestion for all other faiths’buildings to provide kick-ass behemoths with controls that go up to ’11’.

  5. Alan K. Henderson

    Where the faithful dwell
    Where the mullahs live and they do live well
    Where a man is a man
    And the dhimmis dance to our city council demands
    Tis a magic land
    Where the sword and crescent rise over Michigan
    Where burqa’d virgins lie
    And the prayers to Allah fill the midnight sky

  6. Lynxx Pherrett

    Articles in both the Los Angeles Times and New York Times point out something that Barbara Simpson overlooked or chose not to include:
    LAT — [Council President Karen] Majewski describes the vote as common sense. She says the mosque was already allowed to broadcast; by granting formal approval, the city preserved its right to regulate the times and volume of the call to prayer.”
    NYT“Council members emphasized that there was nothing technically preventing the mosque from amplifying its call to prayer, even without amending the city’s noise ordinance, and compared the amplification to the chiming of church bells. The amendment just gave government officials leverage to limit the volume and hours of the broadcasts, said Councilman Scott Klein.”
    That is a bit different than the opinion of the Mchigan ACLU on the Detroit News Op/Ed page:
    “In an effort to accommodate members of the Muslim faith, Hamtramck has allowed a practice that would not have been possible under the original noise ordinance. That ordinance, which also has First Amendment problems, makes it unlawful “for any person to create, assist in creating … any excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noise, or any noise which either annoys, disturbs….”
    The new amendment says: “The City shall permit ‘call to prayer,’ ‘church bells’ and other means of announcing religious meetings to be amplified between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. for a duration not to exceed five minutes (emphasis added).”
    Hamtramck must first make the original ordinance constitutional. Then, to accommodate the needs of Muslims, Christians and members of other faiths, the city can create what are called “reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.” These restrictions need to equally apply to other nonreligious but protected speech.”

  7. Alan K. Henderson

    Church bells announce religious meetings??? Since when?
    Barbara Simpson addressed the church bell comparison: “the broadcasts are prayers – not like church bells, which are [instrumental] music.”
    Bells ain’t speech. (Neither is flag burning, but that’s another issue.) The law should treat all amplified speech equally, and may distinguish between speech and non-speech noise.

  8. Alan K. Henderson

    Barbara’s outrage is understandable. Hamtramck amended a law to accommodate a tradition practiced by only one religion. Oh, and the Muslim prayer call doesn’t announce meetings – it signals that Muslims stop what they’re doing, bow and face Mecca, and pray at that very moment wherever they happen to be. Since the call doesn’t announce a meeting but solicits a private activity, the amendment to the law doesn’t allow it.

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