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A declaration of Islamic hegemony

In Minneapolis, citizens are about to get an Islamic wake-up call

Muslims pray at the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center in Minneapolis on May 12, 2022. Associated Press/Photo by Jessie Wardarski

A declaration of Islamic hegemony
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In a disturbing and alarming update, the Minneapolis City Council has amended the city’s noise ordinance to allow mosques to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer—known as the adhan—over loudspeakers, not only five times a day, but particularly at “dawn and late evening” times.

What should residents of Minneapolis expect now? Many mosques—at the same time— will broadcast the adhan, each using several loudspeakers, aiming to bring the Islamic call to prayer as far as a speaker can reach, five times a day, even at night and at dawn.

If you think this will result in a poor quality of life, just know that this scene is the only existing reality in numerous Muslim-majority countries.

Minneapolis has now become the first big U.S. city to imitate Muslim nations, thanks to its far-left council that—unsurprisingly—carried out such a consequential decision during the holiest Islamic month, Ramadan. Clearly, the timing was in order to appease the city’s growing Muslim population.

But why do I consider this ordinance disturbing and alarming? What does the Islamic adhan really represent?

The adhan is an explicitly Arabic Islamic formula that consists of 15 short phrases, recited and chanted by a strong male voice and aimed not only to call neighboring Muslims to go to pray inside the mosque, but also to declare Islam’s presence and religious hegemony to non-Muslims in the land. The phrases are significantly weighty theologically.

They include “Allahu Akbar,” elevating Allah as greater than anyone and anything else. This is repeated six times. The phrases also emphasize the exclusivity of Islam by repeating the Islamic confession of faith twice: “I testify that there is no god but Allah” and “I testify that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger.” The adhan then concludes with a theological ultimatum: “There is no god but Allah.”

Clearly, this adhan isn’t a simple melodic chant to call devotees to get together to pray quietly and calmly in mosques. It is far more than that: It is a theological declaration of Islam’s superiority, assertiveness, and advancement in the land. That superiority claim is found, not only in the explicit religious statements of the call to prayer, but also because of the Muslim insistence on loudly broadcasting it to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Loudspeakers were invented in the 1900s. Thus, Muhammad—and his followers for the next 12 centuries—never used one.

Consider the obvious: loudspeakers were invented in the 1900s. Thus, Muhammad—and his followers for the next 12 centuries—never used one. Why would Muslims in modern days insist on using loudspeakers, although everyone can definitely know the prayer time? The answer is simple. The adhan declares Islam’s presence in the land and serves as da’wa (Islamic preaching), an obligatory duty on Muslims, thus inviting people to Islam.

At its core, this new Minneapolis ordinance—pushed forth by Muslim leaders in the city—serves the goals of Islamism, also known as political Islam—a distinct ideology and worldview that advances Islam, not only as mere sets of beliefs, but precisely as both a religion and political leadership. For the Minneapolis Islamists, Islam must advance in America and be declared superior.

This is evident in how Muslims in Minneapolis—and Minnesota in general—have been steadily, persistently, and openly seeking to influence laws to advance Islamic distinctiveness in their city and state. In the last two years, Minneapolis Public Schools adopted the Muslim Eid as a religious holiday in their calendars and some mosques received mayoral permission to broadcast the call to prayer five times a day during Ramadan.

Many Muslims view this new ordinance as a big win for Islam. Minnesota Muslim leaders aren’t secretive about their goals as they declared, in 2020, that they “want real political participation—not just friendly mosque visits.”

What many in the West don’t realize is that broadcasting the adhan won’t stop at its mere recitation through loudspeakers. It will end up with repeated religious messaging, chanting passages from the Quran and Muhammad’s sayings—all through the loudspeakers. This is the case found today in many Muslim-majority countries.

Growing up in Egypt, I knew that first hand that Coptic Christians were forced to listen to the Muslim adhan from numerous neighboring mosques, as well as repeated times every day on radio and TV channels. How is that religious freedom for all? Until today, Copts have no choice and cannot talk about it. No single church can ever promote a Christian message outside its building—not even one!

Broadcasting the adhan over loudspeakers is not about religious equality or freedom, but about Islamic hegemony and advancement. With left-leaning policies and political correctness, what began in Minneapolis will unfortunately spread elsewhere in the United States. When we naively allow political Islam an inch, it will never stop there. We’ve been warned.

A.S. Ibrahim

A.S. Ibrahim, born and raised in Egypt, holds two PhDs with an emphasis on Islam and its history. He is a professor of Islamic studies and director of the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has taught at several schools in the United States and the Middle East, and authored A Concise Guide to the Life of Muhammad (Baker Academic, 2022), Conversion to Islam (Oxford University Press, 2021), Basics of Arabic (Zondervan 2021), A Concise Guide to the Quran (Baker Academic, 2020), and The Stated Motivations for the Early Islamic Expansion (Peter Lang, 2018), among others.

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