Newham Council gives permission for broadcast of Muslim call to prayer during Ramadan

Newham Council gives permission for broadcast of Muslim call to prayer during Ramadan.

Newham Council has granted a request for 19 mosques in Newham to be permitted to broadcast a short call to prayer (Adhaan) for the rest of the holy month of Ramadan, which will be adapted to remind worshippers to stay at home.

The decision to allow the short broadcasts was made as a result of discussions which emerged from regular Covid-19 zoom chats held between the Council and faith communities.

Deputy Mayor (Community) and Cabinet member for community neighbourhoods, Councillor Charlene McLean, worked with Newham Council of Mosques and Newham Muslim Forum, alongside Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and Commissioners for Interfaith and Inter-religious dialogue Councillor Canon Ann Easter and Councillor Rohit Dasgupta, to reach an agreed format for the Adhaan.

Normally the Muslim community would come together to pray and break their fast during Ramadan, but this has been severely affected by COVID-19 with mosques closed and the requirement to remain socially distanced.

As an alternative form of connection during this special month, the idea of allowing a limited call to prayer, to reinforce the sense of community, was first floated within the interfaith group. It will be specially adapted to remind worshippers to pray – but to do so from home.

The Adhaan will be performed every day to mark the breaking of the fast and on Fridays around 1.30pm, with the first at lunchtime on Friday (May 15).

Deputy Mayor Charlene McLean said: “Ramadan has been a very different and difficult holy month for our Muslim community this year, and we recognise the sacrifices the community has made by following the rules regarding congregation and social distancing. By doing the right thing they, and other faith groups in the borough, have helped restrict the spread of the virus, which has saved lives.

“We were asked to consider letting some mosques broadcast the short call to prayer to remind worshippers to pray at home. We considered the request as we would with any religious or faith group looking to worship responsibly during this difficult time.”

Published: 14 May 2020