For the first time in its history, the oldest mosque in Vancouver, Canada will begin broadcasting its evening call to prayer over loudspeakers for the remainder of Ramadan, in order to provide a sense of community during COVID-19 pandemic.
The adhan — which summons the faithful for prayers five times a day — will be broadcast from Al Masjid Al Jamia at sundown until May 23.
During the pandemic, the call will hold another meaning.
“We are broadcasting the adhan to give hope to our community and all communities that, one day, we’ll all be able to gather in our place,” said Haroon Khan, a trustee at the mosque.
“That said, this is not for people to come over and pack the place out.”
Khan said the mosque worked with city officials to ensure they were in compliance with noise bylaws and regulations.
Vancouver Mayor, Kennedy Stewart, said he was “pleased” an agreement was reached quickly, in time for the final days of Ramadan.
“Broadcasting the call … gives our friends and neighbours in the Muslim community, and all communities, faith that the time will come soon when we can all gather at our chosen public places once again,” the mayor wrote in a statement Monday.
“I have had the occasion to attend the Al Jamia Masjid Vancouver soon after I took office as mayor in the aftermath of the New Zealand Christchurch mosque shooting [in 2019],” he added.
“The gathering of all faiths under the roof of this mosque gave peace, hope and inspiration to all those who attended and is emblematic of the place our mosques have in the fabric of what makes Vancouver a special place to live.”
Mosques in Alberta, Ontario and other jurisdictions around the world have broadcast adhan at sundown during the pandemic. Khan said Al Masjid Al Jamia, founded in 1963, will be the first mosque in the city to do the same.