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U.S. Briefs: Minneapolis bows to Muslim prayer request

City updates noise ordinance to allow predawn and nighttime calls to prayer

Jessie Wardarski/AP

U.S. Briefs: Minneapolis bows to Muslim prayer request
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Fact Box Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and World Atlas


On April 13, Minneapolis became the first major U.S. city to approve outdoor broadcasts of the Muslim call to prayer—five times a day, year-round. All 13 members of the City Council are Democrats, and three are Muslim. They voted unanimously to change the noise ordinance to allow the unrestricted loudspeaker announcements, or adhan. Mayor Jacob Frey signed the measure April 17. The city’s 40 mosques can now broadcast the adhan at predawn, afternoon, late afternoon, post-sunset, and nighttime. Prior to the vote, the city allowed no predawn or nighttime announcements. Those could now sound as early as 3:30 a.m. and as late as 11 p.m. No organized efforts opposed the decision, and at a recent City Hall meeting, Christian and Jewish leaders voiced support. A local imam said Minneapolis is now “a city for all religions.” He also said the adhan’s “Allahu akbar” (Allah is great) message goes beyond the specific beliefs of Islam. About 130,000 Muslims live in Minneapolis. —Sharon Dierberger


Gov. Wes Moore signed a bill on April 11 to remove the statute of limitations for lawsuits related to sexual abuse—a move coming in response to a devastating report on sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests and others working for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The nearly 500-page report from the state attorney general’s office, released April 5, describes abuse of at least 600 children by more than 150 individuals going back to the 1940s. The report also describes efforts by church leaders to cover up the abuse: “The sheer number of abusers and victims, the depravity of the abusers’ conduct, and the frequency with which known abusers were given the opportunity to continue preying upon children are astonishing.” —Emma Freire

New Mexico

Doctors opposed to assisted suicide gained a reprieve on April 4 when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a law protecting their right to refuse to help patients die. New Mexico’s End-of-Life Options Act clarifies that healthcare professionals are “able to refuse to participate in medical aid in dying for reasons of conscience.” Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit in December on behalf of Dr. Mark Lacy and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations challenging the state’s Elizabeth Whitefield End-of Life Options Act. The 2021 law not only decriminalized suicide but also required doctors to tell terminally ill patients suicide is an option and refer them to doctors willing to help them carry it out. —Steve West

Andy Beshear

Andy Beshear Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP


A federal appeals court ruled April 10 that Gov. Andy Beshear must pay more than $270,000 in attorney fees to three people who sued him over COVID-19-era quarantines. Randall Daniel, Theodore Roberts, and Sally O’Boyle sued Beshear for violating their right to assemble for worship in August 2020 after they each received notices that their attendance at Maryville Baptist Church’s Easter service violated emergency orders. The notices went on to demand that they quarantine or face “further enforcement measures.” The group’s suit alleged that the governor’s bans on interstate travel and religious gatherings violated their constitutional rights. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Beshear’s prohibition on in-­person services in May 2020, citing the ban’s “unexplained breadth.” The three plaintiffs’ suit relied on that decision. A lower district court awarded them attorney fees, but Beshear appealed. This month, the 6th Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision. Taxpayer funds will cover the fees. —Elizabeth Russell


The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on April 12 ruled to reinstate past safety restrictions for distributing the abortion-causing drug mifepristone. Days earlier, a federal judge in Texas had ruled to completely block the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 23-year-old approval of the drug. The 5th Circuit paused that ruling, but it upheld the lower court’s reinstatement of required in-person dispensing of the drug, an intended safety measure that the FDA had rolled back in recent years. The circuit court also upheld the lower court’s revocation of a 2019 approval that allowed a company to make a generic version. But it said too much time had likely passed for the pro-life doctors who sued the FDA to challenge the original approval of the drug in 2000. Two days later, the U.S. Supreme Court put a temporary pause on the court orders to give the justices time to consider the arguments in the case. —Leah Savas


Police have arrested a man who identifies as a woman for allegedly planning to attack a middle school. Deputies from the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office took William Whitworth, 19, into custody March 31 after his sister alerted them about his plans. Whitworth, who went by the name Lilly, had allegedly planned the shooting for about a month. Investigators searched his room and said they found a hand-drawn floor plan of Timberview Middle School, where he was briefly a student, and a list of people “to be killed,” according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Whitworth had also allegedly listed an elementary school and a high school as potential targets, and his notebook included resources for making homemade firearms and bombs. Authorities said he told them he had “no specific reason” for planning the shooting, but his manifesto reportedly cited mass shooters and political ­commentators. Whitworth now awaits a May 5 hearing to face charges including first-degree criminal attempt to commit murder. —Elizabeth Russell


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