Hamtramck Residents To Hear Prayer Broadcasts

Issue Sparks Heated Debate Among Residents

Hamtramck residents will soon be hearing a Muslim call to prayer five times a day following a unanimous vote by the City Council Tuesday night.

The issue of sending out the prayer on a loudspeaker in the city sparked a heated debate among residents.

"If you guys think about it, the Muslim call to prayer is actually a beautiful thing," an unidentified man who supported the issue said during the City Council meeting.

Some residents are opposed to the call to prayer, saying it gives state sponsorship of a religion and it lifts Islam above all other religions in Hamtramck, Local 4 reported.

"I would say that is a distortion," Hamtramck City Councilwoman Karen Majewski said. "We worked very hard to craft this ordinance in such a way that it would cover all means of religious expression."

Resident Maria Radtke called it "one big mess."

"There'll be no peace as far as I'm concerned," Radtke said.

Resident Bob Golen also opposes the call to prayer. He said he is a Christian and does not believe in the tenets of the Muslim faith.

Majewski said the ordinance will allow the city "a way to deal with all religions, not simply the Muslim call to prayer."

The councilwoman also said the amendment to the noise ordinance passed by the City Council "gives us the flexibility to adjust the number of speakers, the direction of the speakers, the level of loudness. So that will all depend on the community response, on the particular neighborhood that the mosque may be in, because we have several mosques, and the particularities of each case."

City Council members may have voted to allow the daily prayer, but they have not yet set a decibel level for the mosques. The council will make the decision at a meeting next week.

The calls are expected to begin in May with broadcasts between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

As for complaints of the noise pollution created by the call to prayer, Majewski said there are other noise issues because Hamtramck is an urban city.

"We have a lot of noise on our streets," Majewski said.

She said there is flexibility within the ordinance to deal with all of the noise problems such as cars, trains and noisy neighbors.

"This ordinance gives us a way, a mechanism, by which to deal with these complaints," Majewski said.