Mississauga’s noise control bylaw suspended to allow evening call to prayer during Ramadan

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With COVID-19 interrupting all aspects of life, people who would normally gather for religious events are getting some comfort in the form of a daily call to at-home (or otherwise physically-distanced) prayer. 

At an April 29 meeting, Mississauga city council voted unanimously to suspend enforcement of the noise control bylaw to allow for the broadcasting of the evening call to prayer from local mosques and other non-residential buildings regularly used for worship. 

Mayor Bonnie Crombie brought the idea forward at the meeting, saying that surrounding municipalities such as Toronto, Brampton and Milton are already allowing a public call to prayer during Ramadan.

"Mosques want to broadcast it externally," she said, adding that Muslim residents told her they would find it inspirational at a time when they cannot physically pray together because of physical distancing orders. 

Crombie said the call—which would not encourage residents to go to a mosque to pray together—would ring out between 8:15 pm and 8:50 pm. 

The city says the call to prayer will be released from mosques and places of worship once a day from now until May 24—the period of Ramadan. 

The city says the call can only be broadcast only once per day in the evening for a maximum of five minutes and that worshippers must understand that they cannot physically gather in contravention of the province's emergency orders and physical distancing guidelines.

The Muslim Council of Peel, which made a formal request asking for the call to prayer to be externally broadcast while mosques and Islamic centres remain closed during Ramadan, thanked council for its support. 

"Mississauga is home to the largest Muslim community in the region. Social distancing has made this Ramadan very difficult for those who look forward to the heightened sense of community inclusion during this month of worship," the organization said in a statement. 

In a statement, Rabia Khedr, executive director of the Muslim Council of Peel, said the public calls will provide comfort to Muslims who cannot celebrate with friends and extended family due to the pandemic.  

"The decision gives the community great solace during Ramadan when we would be assembling at the mosque every evening breaking fast in Ramadan, our holiest of months." 

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