Sunday, February 07, 2016

Loud Muslim Prayer: Takeover of Michigan Town

The non-Muslim residents of Hamtramck, Michigan complained so much about the "noise" coming from the Islamic center loudspeakers (the Muslim call to prayer) that the Muslim residents organized an effort to gain a majority on the city council.  It appears the "noise" will remain.
“We were lied to.  We were told it would never be turned into a mosque.”
-- Carol Marsh, resident

“It’s only a matter of time before we’ll see a Muslim mayor.”
-- Dawud Walid, Executive Director, Michigan Chapter, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

Maine Sues Pastor for Preaching Too Loud Near Abortion Clinic

Pastor's Wife Fined for Praying Too Loud on North Dakota Street

Christians Arrested for Praying Too Loud Near Chicago Abortion Clinic

Indiana Town Denounces Loud, Praying Christians

Virginia Police Halt Bible 'Noise,' Preacher Sues City & Wins

Missouri Police Steal Preacher's Amplifier to Shut Him Up

Jesus Talk Outlawed in New Orleans, Arrests Made

-- From "Residents complain that ‘call to prayer’ is too loud" by Charles Sercombe, Hamtramck Review (fall 2015)

[At the] city council meeting, several residents of the Hamtramck Senior Plaza apartments on Holbrook complained about the volume level of the call to prayer coming from the Ideal Islamic Center, located across from the apartment complex.

[Resident Jeanette Powell] said the call or prayer was broadcast at 6 a.m. and found the volume “overbearing.”

The center on Holbrook was not the only mosque accused of broadcasting the call too loudly.

Susan Dunn, who is a candidate for city council, said the new mosque on St. Aubin St., the Abu-Bakr Al-Siddique Islamic Center, also broadcasts the call loudly. Dunn lives on Hewitt St., which is a block away from the center.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Muslims look to make a difference in Hamtramck" by Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press 1/25/16

The week before Election Day in Hamtramck, hundreds of Muslims packed the City Council chambers.

They were outraged over a complaint made by council candidate Susan Dunn over the Islamic call to prayer that is broadcast outdoors from mosques, which she said were too loud.

The following week, three Muslim candidates out of six were the top vote-getters, winning council seats. After their inauguration this month, Hamtramck became what is believed to be the first city in the U.S. with a Muslim-majority City Council.  Four of its six council members are Muslim, three of them immigrants.

The story of how that happened offers insight into the political ambitions of the city's Muslim community in a time of intense debate about Islam in the West. And it shows how diverse groups — from Polish Catholics to Bangladeshi Muslims to African-American Protestants — can get along, city leaders say.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "In the first majority-Muslim U.S. city, residents tense about its future" by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post 11/21/15

[Local businesswoman Karen] Majewski, whose family emigrated from Poland in the early 20th century, admitted to a few concerns of her own. Business owners within 500 feet of one of Hamtramck’s four mosques can’t obtain a liquor license, she complained, a notable development in a place that flouted Prohibition-era laws by openly operating bars. The restrictions could thwart efforts to create an entertainment hub downtown, said the pro-commerce mayor.

And while Majewski advocated to allow mosques to issue calls to prayer, she understands why some longtime residents are struggling to adjust to the sound that echos through the city’s streets five times each day.

While the city’s Polish Catholic population has shrunk from 90 percent in 1970 to about 11 percent today, in part as the old residents have moved to more prosperous suburbs, Polish American culture still permeates the town.

Hamtramck’s exceedingly low home prices and relatively low crime rate have proved especially attractive to new immigrants, whose presence is visible everywhere. Most of the women strolling Joseph Campau Avenue wear hijabs, or headscarves, and niqabs, veils that leave only the area around the eyes open. Many of the markets advertise their wares in Arabic or Bengali, and some display signs telling customers that owners will return shortly — gone to pray, much in the same way Polish businesses once signaled that employees had gone to Mass.

Many longtime residents point to 2004 as the year they suspected that the town’s culture had shifted irrevocably. It was then that the city council gave permission to al-Islah Islamic Center to broadcast its call to prayer from speakers atop its roof.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "This U.S. city has become the first to elect a Muslim-majority city council" by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post 11/5/15

. . . The city council’s approval of an ordinance to allow mosques to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer onto public streets made it one of the few cities in the United States to approve the practice, according to a 2004 story in the Detroit News. “This is about uniting our community,” Shabad Ahmed, the first and only Muslim member of the Hamtramck City Council, told the newspaper.

Fast forward to 2015, when the city of some 22,000 people physically surrounded by but politically separate from Detroit has elected a Muslim-majority city council, believed to be the first in the nation. On Tuesday, the city elected three new city council members, making the council four of six members of Muslim faith.

Dearborn, which is part of the Detroit metro area, attracts most of the national attention over its Arab population, but its Muslim population is not as concentrated as Hamtramck.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.