New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Edward A. Caban today launched, on Tuesday, a new NYPD initiative to support and facilitate the Islamic call to public prayer on external loudspeakers at regularly prescribed times each Friday and throughout the month of Ramadan.
The New York City new legal guidance will allow mosques to play their calls to prayer on external loudspeakers. The new rules will apply on Fridays between 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM, and in the evenings throughout the month of Ramadan, near the time of iftar, when Muslims breaking their fast.
“For too long, there has been a feeling that our communities were not allowed to amplify their calls to prayer,” said Mayor Adams. “Today, we are cutting red tape and saying clearly that mosques and houses of worship are free to amplify their call to prayer on Fridays and during Ramadan without a permit necessary. We want our brothers and sisters of Muslim faith to know that they are free to live their faith in New York City because, under the law, we will all be treated equally. Our administration is proud to finally get this done.”
We want our brothers and sisters of Muslim faith to know that they are free to live their faith in New York City. pic.twitter.com/RM5fXHukAn
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) August 29, 2023
The Adhan, also spelled Azan, is usually broadcast publicly over the speakers or public address system of a house of worship — summoning members of the Muslim faith for prayer. The NYPD’s new legal guidance clarifies for mosques and masjids that the call to prayer is allowed in New York City and not prohibited despite sound restrictions in city neighborhoods.
The NYPD Community Affairs Bureau and Muslim faith leaders will work collaboratively in every neighborhood with mosques and masjids to communicate the new plans for Adhan to local community leaders and stakeholders. They will work to ensure that any sound device used to broadcast an Adhan is set at appropriate decibel levels and in accordance with the rules of the noise code within the city’s administrative code.
A 2018 study says there are some 750,000 Muslims in NYC, and 1.5 million Muslims in the greater NY metropolitan area. Islam is the third largest religion in the city after Christianity and Judaism. Some 22% of America’s Muslims live in New York.
New York is home to some 275 mosques, more than any other city in the United States. That’s going to get loud.
The decision was made after Adams’ recent trip to Israel, though it’s unclear if the visit played a role in the decision.