In one example among many, media outlets in the USA are gushing in their praise for the move by the City of Minneapolis in granting a noise permit so that the Islamic ‘call to prayer’ can be broadcast five times a day in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood during the month of Ramadan. The move is widely heralded as ‘historic’, and some uncomfortable truths (like the fact that the terror-linked ‘Council on American Islamic Relations’ is funding the broadcasts) are quietly ignored. In fact, the move by Minneapolis is widely seen as a sign of bigger things to come, with some even expressing the hope that the adhan (call to prayer) will ring out permanently across this part of Minneapolis.
The last thing that those celebrating this ‘wonderful expression of diversity’ is ready to do is to enquire too deeply into what exactly the adhan signifies. At its most basic it is so much more than an invitation to prayer. Instead it forcefully proclaims the supremacy of Islam over all other faiths and ideologies. In Arabic, the word adhan means to listen, to be informed or enlightened — signifying that people previously in darkness and ignorance are now informed and enlightened about the true religion of Islam, to which they must submit. This is evident in the very words that are being used: “Allah is the greatest. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Come to prayer. Come to salvation.”
One wonders whether the ’enlightened’ civic leaders of Minneapolis had quite this kind of enlightenment in mind when they voted to have the supremacy of Islam proclaimed over their city.
What is even more concerning is that the adhan has a definite territorial dimension. The presence of it within a community definitively marks it out as part of the ‘house of Islam’. A place, therefore, where Islam is seen to be dominant to the exclusion of all other competing faiths.
According to his biographer Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad himself used the adhan to determine which communities to attack and which to leave alone. Its absence at the village of Khaybar was ultimately what motivated Muhammad to visit carnage upon it. According to Ibn Ishaq: “When the apostle [Muhammad] raided a people he waited until the morning. If he heard a call to prayer he held back; if he did not hear it he attacked. We came to Khaybar by night, and the apostle passed the night there; and when morning came, he did not hear the call to prayer, so he rode (to attack it) and we rode with him.”
It would be naive in the extreme to think that the Muslim people of Cedar-Riverside are entirely unaware of these deeper resonances of the adhan. Presumably this causes them to think of their neighborhood as a place where Islam dominates and where they can be at peace. One shudders to think, however, of what it tells them about the rest of their city where the adhan is not being heard.
For more on how the example and teachings of Muhammad play a significant role in inspiring violence in the name of Islam, please see my book:“Nothing to do with Islam – Investigating the West’s Most Dangerous Blind Spot”.