Residents complain that ‘call to prayer’ is too loud

Tenants at the Holbrook Senior Plaza apartments say the Ideal Islamic Center across on the street from the apartment complex broadcasts its call to prayer too loud and too early in the morning.




By Charles Sercombe

          The debate over the Muslim call to prayer is reverberating once again.

          At last week’s city council meeting, several residents of the Hamtramck Senior Plaza apartments on Holbrook complained about the volume level of the call to prayer coming from the Ideal Islamic Center, located across from the apartment complex.

          Jeanette Powell said she’s not complaining as a way to “bash anyone’s religion.”

          She said the call or prayer was broadcast at 6 a.m. and found the volume “overbearing.”

          “Just turn it down a little bit.”

          Carol Marsh said not only was the call to prayer too loud, she insisted that the organizers of the center never said it would serve as a mosque.

          “We were lied to,” she said. “We were told it would never be turned into a mosque.”

          But Sakrul Islam of the center said no one ever said it would not be a mosque, saying an Islamic center “covers everything.”

          He warned Marsh that if she continued claiming she was lied to he would file a defamation lawsuit.

          He also denied accusations that the call to prayer was broadcast earlier than 6 a.m. Islam said he has since turned down the volume when the police department informed him of the complaints.

          Islam accused City Councilmember Robert Zwolak, who lives in the apartment complex, of whipping up complaints.

          “He’s against Muslims,” he said.

          The center on Holbrook was not the only mosque accused of broadcasting the call too loudly.

          Susan Dunn, who is a candidate for city council, said the new mosque on St. Aubin St., the Abu-Bakr Al-Siddique Islamic Center, also broadcasts the call loudly. Dunn lives on Hewitt St., which is a block away from the center.

          She said she asked neighbors who attend services at the center to tell organizers there to turn down the volume.

          Since then, she said, it’s been “turned down some.”

          The complaints launched a long discussion on the city’s noise ordinance and the ordinance regulating the call to prayer.

          According to Councilmember Cathie Gordon the city’s ordinance has no teeth.

          Police Chief Max Garbarino said the way he’s been dealing with the issue is to talk with mosque leaders and ask them to turn down the volume.

          The call to prayer issue first came up in 2004 when city officials were considering an ordinance regulating it. At that time, there was a heated debate over the issue.

          Eventually, the city council at the time OK’d the ordinance. But that decision was challenged after Zwolak, who was not a member of council at the time, led a successful petition drive to put the matter up to a ballot vote.

          Voters approved the ordinance by a 55 to 45 percent margin.

          The issue also attracted national and international attention. Periodically, residents complain about the volume of the call to prayer, mostly from the mosque located on Caniff near Jos. Campau.

89 Responses to Residents complain that ‘call to prayer’ is too loud

  1. Ryan the awesome

    August 3, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Really? A call to prayer over loudspeakers? Every church should broadcast the lords prayer or the sermon on the mount in the middle of the night.

  2. Santosh

    August 18, 2016 at 9:47 am

    i m dealing with this noise pollution of this mosque everyday here, even the street dogs gets annoyed and starts barking at that noise

  3. john kulaya

    August 28, 2016 at 2:20 am

    how do you recall city council leaders. they are creating a state supported religion which is unconstitutional!

  4. Gloria Dean

    August 28, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Sort of remind me of the Church bells I would hear every day.. Or a siren every Tuesday at 12 noon saying “this is a test.” …

  5. Gus

    August 31, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Easy answer play the Rollins Band “LIAR!” on 10 on a 350 watt amp when they try that crap!

  6. Jeremy Laughery

    September 15, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    To the man named Sakrul Islam that said he would file a defamation lawsuit, you are a corrupt and demented individual if you think that your noise pollution can override justice of the peace. Your threats are laughable! Religion is a mind-game that creeps like you play with unsuspecting ignorant victims. Your God, as well as any other God, is not concerned with you or any other religious figure and followers of any religion. Islam is not a religion; it is control by subversion, subjugation and force. Our most dire concerns should not be with God; they should be the facts that are apparent right here on Earth. Morals, conscience and character are the three most important of all of these concerns, which are derived from the U.S. Constitution first. Learn these four things and you will do well in America. Fight the ignorance! Pass on the torch of liberty by passing on a copy of the State and Federal Constitutions!

  7. Ali Ibrahim

    September 16, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    why are you people making such a fuss about this the muslim people say nothing about the church bell you have on every church and our call to prayer is only 1 half minute long. so i suggest stop talking about call to prayer and you turn our call of prayer we turn yours off.

  8. Ali Ibrahim

    September 16, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    this guy named jeremy laughery your name is a laughing joke dont diss other peoples religion follow your own and well follow ares.

  9. Kathleen

    September 24, 2016 at 6:07 am

    There are Noise laws and if the mosques are violating the law, cite them! Religions get NO special treatment even Islam! If law enforcement and courts to NOT enforce the law they will take over. They already think their religion comes before ANYTHING! When our government favors this religion of extremists…it is violating the Constitution! No government religion. Start treating these people same as every other religion and tough if they don’t like it!

  10. Fritz Schulze

    October 10, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    The Great Pillars of Civilization
    . Gender and LGBTQ equality
    . Freedom of and from religion
    . Freedom of expression
    . Separation of church and state
    . Democracy
    . Rule of secular law

    Each of these is opposed by Islamist ideology.

  11. Jay Douglas

    October 17, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Above, Ali Ibrahim wrote –
    “this guy named jeremy laughery your name is a laughing joke
    dont diss other peoples religion
    follow your own
    and well follow ares.”

    Presumably that last phrase is –
    “.. we’ll follow ours.”

    Maybe it’s a call to American-English !

    Really, I am wondering how properly to pronounce “Hamtramck” ?

  12. ladoomal

    October 20, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    The irony of it all HAMtramck taken over by Muslims.
    Ham is pork and is considered taboo.

  13. Abbie

    October 24, 2016 at 10:04 am

    6am is a bit early for anything to be blared over a loud speaker, a little consideration for people who need sleep. Its a discordant wail, nothing melodic or pleasant so kindly turn it down so we all dont have to hear it

  14. Wow you ignorant fucks

    November 4, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Wow you people are the most miserable xenophobic pieces of shit I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading comments from. You know a discordant sound that many have to deal with on a hourly basis? Clock towers and church bells. Now when your grievance isn’t grounded I’m “yeah well now the brown people are doing it” maybe, just maybe, you might have some ground to stand on.

  15. Concerned American

    November 6, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    The fact is, the call to pray (Adan) five times a day, seven days a week by the so called Muslims center, which is not a mosque is disturbing the community of the non muslim citicizans who pay taxes and have historical roots in this city. Your Muslim center violates the ordinance that was granted to you by the city to blast call to prayer. Your religion is full of lies. No religion has the right to take over a city and it community.

    Church bells ringing on Sunday morning at a aceticable decibel is not comparable to the obnoxious call to pray five times a day seven days a week at a disturbing decibel.

    The U.S. Constitution is bases on Jedeo-Christian beliefs and NOT the subversive and subjudaging Islamic religion. I suggest that you and your family go back to the county that you came from to practice your oppressive religion in a county that will accept you.

    Islam is not wanted here in this county and your backward ideology.

  16. Naresh B

    November 23, 2016 at 9:43 am

    This is an issue that muslims create for non-muslims EVERYWHERE in the world. religion of peace my foot.

  17. Political Islam

    November 29, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    This is noise pollution not religious freedom. Islam is political power and religion. Their code says it is okay to lie (“We were told it would never be turned into a mosque”) if it advances the cause of Islam. They practice obfuscation (“an Islamic center “covers everything””.
    They want to subjugate our rules to theirs while using our rules against us (if she “continued claiming she was lied to he would file a defamation lawsuit”).
    They attempt free speech by claiming persecution(“He’s against Muslims”).
    They really want all people to be ruled by Muslim law. It starts with small concessions – prayer calls many times a day (and from a growing number of locations); accommodation for prayer in schools and at work – then as their strength grows they get more emboldened for larger demands and aim to supplant local law with Sharia law. This is not a religious issue it is a political infiltration. There is no end until there is total submission by all non-muslims to the ‘laws’ of Islam.

  18. Pastor

    January 15, 2017 at 7:22 am

    I woke up this morning to study for church service today. While sitting in bed I hear this loud “call to prayer”. Why do I need to hear “your” call to prayer. This noise is very disturbing and Its hard for me to study. Muslims citizens need to respecthe rights of others just as they want us to respect them. I will be filling a complaint and calling the police every day I hear this. I have no problem with your religion, just turn down the volume.

  19. M.WRYTER

    January 31, 2017 at 5:36 am


  20. American Citizen

    February 10, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Ibrahim, you do NOT get to subject everyone to YOUR political cult! Don’t turn it down, TURN IT OFF!! And don’t mistake the American People for those liberal wimps in Europe, we are not!! And we WILL maintain America as the Christian country that it is!! ANYTHING ELSE IS IRRELEVANT!! You want to hear the Adhan go live in a Muslim hell hole where you belong!!

  21. British Muslim Women.

    February 15, 2017 at 2:09 am

    – dear all

    I understand everyone will have problem with the loud Adhan during 6.00am however even we have problem during the Church bells but we do not complain? 😕 We respect every other religion too and try to be friendly and polite. Please understand this is the Islam one of the 5 pillars we need to do. This is important for us. I also know there are bad things happening around the world but what else can we do if the blame comes on Us Muslim people?! There are good people and bad people.

    I won’t be cmn back to this to read what you all must have said about me or my religion so I respect you guys, you do the same at least try to be helpful towards us. You will see a good change on yourself and what u think about us before might even change you 😊

    I would also like to add I have my own relatives who are non Muslim and some have converted to Islam on their own choices which was not forced.


    They are my family above so we all respect and speak nicely so why not you all?:) at least try it!!?

    Allah hafeez (good bye 👋) x

    I also understand there are laws and regulations please bear with us. Adhan is just beautiful to hear.

  22. Susan

    March 2, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Wouldn’t it be easier for those interested in hearing the call to prayer to just get an app? No need to disturb others

  23. viv ward

    March 12, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    sue them if you can not sleep…they are quick to sue us…give them a taste of their own medicine.

  24. Alison Lekarev

    May 24, 2017 at 5:57 am

    I live in Rainham, Essex and am having the exact same problem with a Muslim center which has just opened nearby. When we moved here, that was one of the things that we checked for (no religious institutions nearby), but after one year of being here, this place opens up and we can’t enjoy the peace and quiet in our garden anymore, because of the noise coming from the loud speaker. They recently applied for planning persmission to expand, and it was described as a “community center”, which sounds ok. It mentions nothing about mosque! Woul have felt the same if it was a church, incidentally. Religion of all kinds is backward. These people now regularly park over our drives as well. I am NOT happy!

  25. Fred

    June 19, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    You can’t have a cross in Pensacola Park FL,
    Why can you broadcast a muslim call to prayer? Where is & why are they not filing a lawsuit?

  26. Reasonable

    July 13, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Why don’t we meet half way and lower the volume? Both sides would be happy. No need to bash each other. It’s a very simple solution and no one need get upset.

  27. rasheedat

    July 23, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    please what are you saying Christian disturb more than Muslim the pray in loud voice and drum do whatever they want to do in loud voice so I don’t think that should hurt them. the only thing I will say is that they just want to discriminate and it is not done like that follow your religion and let others do theirs don’t discriminate

  28. john

    July 25, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    solution:city to issue an ordinance – “no noise above66 DB is permitted”.
    End of noise. ANY noise

  29. Helen1L

    July 31, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    I called my local church and told them to stop ringing their blasted bells at 8am every morning. Apparently they didn’t know they were going off, they were scheduled for 10. I had just had major cancer surgery and was barely getting sleep. I am 8 blocks away, why are these bells waking me up? I filed a complaint and now the bells never ring before noon. I was raised in the religion of the bells and I still don’t want to hear them. Keep your cults to yourselves! The rest of us are sleeping and don’t want to hear your blasted sheep noise!

  30. Rich

    December 24, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Wow. This article made me LESS tolerant. That racism nonsense falls on deaf ears. When you cry wolf everyday no one believes you anymore

  31. Ameena

    September 6, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Assalamu Alaikum my Muslim brothers and sisters, and too greetings of peace to those of you following the gospel. I am sad reading this forum. I have been researching a peaceful town, and I felt Hamtramck was just that, peace. With all the bickering back and forth on this forum, and the nasty remarks against Muslims, race, and religion should never ever be said. I truly though America was growing and becoming a civilized society, now I see there is much work to be done. As a Muslim, to hear the call to prayer is a very holy and spiritual experience, the sound calling me to submit in prayer to my lord. For others it is call nuisance. I am wondering is there a solution to allow others peace. Is it possible just during Fajr prayer (the 5-6am morning prayer), is it possible to lower the Athan (call to prayer) enough for everyone to be happy.

    In order to make change in America, we must first respect one another, and not disregard others needs. I know I may receive backlash for speaking about this, and some may call me Muslim this and that, its fine. However, I feel this town is the first bit of hope I have had in such a long time to find peace and freedom in my America.

    Please set aside the fact Muslim and Christian, and handle it as American to American, please.

    jazak ALLAHu kheir (May GOD reward you)
    Assalamu Alaikum (peace be unto you)

  32. Rasmy Pineda

    November 25, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    You are all sick, realize that the call to prayer is not even that loud nor unpleasant. It is one thing to be sensitive to noise and just be hateful and prejudice toward other people whether its because of religion or anything else. You all should be ashamed, its a requirement in the Islamic faith to pray, let them pray in peace there is such thing as RESPECT toward others, you people need serious help. I will keep each and every one of you in my prayers and hope that one day you will change.

  33. Eli

    April 5, 2019 at 6:34 am

    I’m not Muslim but I moved to Hamtramck because I like the sound of the call to prayer. I heard this was the only city with an ordinance to protect this practice. I think it sounds beautiful, and it’s a reminder to put your daily concerns in perspective. I’m Jewish but I’ve always loved the sound since the first time I heard it when visiting Amman as a tourist.

    I can’t hear the call to prayer for Fajr at my house because the Islamic Center turns down the volume, but the others I can hear. I’m so happy to have a house near enough to hear this sound every day. I hear the sound of the train as well, different but also beautiful. Today I hear the sound of rain on my roof.

    These comments sections are hard to read because people here seem to have so much passion and so much to say, but it isn’t clear that anyone is listening.

  34. Kbal

    April 16, 2019 at 5:36 am

    I’m Muslim, and that means I believe in God (Allah), and I worship Him as many times as He ordered (5 times a day). I love the prayer, it brings me peace.

    Yes, the call for prayer was decreed by Allah (God almighty) , for believers to wake-up from sleep early morning, or pause work during the day, and worship Allah (Allah, their Creator) in thanks and gratitude for everything He has given us all.

    These complaints are an obvious direct attempt (attack) to stop sincere worship of God!

    Salah (prayer is the second pillar of Islam), without Salah, the person isn’t Muslim.

    These complainers (obviously not Muslim) are trying to take us also out of Islam!

    Those who don’t believe and worship God, shouldn’t attack those who do. Anyway, God (Allah) will always win at the end.

  35. Hamtramck Resident

    October 15, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Just get an app and you can listen to it and put it on repeat. I live close to a mosque and it’s living hell. I don’t understand the language, I don’t follow the culture. I don’t support any religious noise pollutions. No bells, no calls to prayers. Imagine if I get a loudspeaker and blast a specific song every single day, 7 times a week, multiple times per day. Just imagine how annoying it would be to Muslims, Christians, Jews and any breathing person or animal that is not deaf. I don’t mind your religion, but keep it to yourself. Listen to it in your house or car. Put your headphones and walk around while listening to it. That noise should never be able to reach my ears while I am trying to sleep at 6am with all doors and windows closed.

  36. Tired Resident

    December 15, 2020 at 6:56 am

    The mosque near Lumpkin and Faber needs to turn the speakers down. It’s way too loud. I understand the importance of the call, but 6 am is too early to be hearing anything that’s publicly broadcasted loudly. The church bells discussed aren’t ringing at 6, or 7 or 8 for that matter, so you can’t compare. Your disrespect blankets the entire city and it’s unacceptable. If you can’t acknowledge that, then you’re part of the problem. Some people have different schedules than Muslims, and this extremely loud reminder shouldn’t be the way. Just be civil and human and turn it down. Recognize your disrespect and turn it down. Just do it. The community is still waiting.

  37. Luna

    October 4, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    Let’s not bash each other’s religion. It’s a calling to prayer, it’s not a bad thing at all. If you think it’s TOO loud. You could’ve sent feedback to the person in a private matter. Either ways, we should all just respect eachother.

  38. Muslim man

    October 8, 2022 at 7:30 am

    I am a muslim!
    But what Muslim failed to understand is that’s it’s not worth the fight to the point of creating animosity among citizen.
    Mosque don’t need to blast the call of prayer to the point of disturbing neighbors. We don’t live in an Islamic cultured country therefore we should be mindful of other people expectations. I live in Maryland where there are many mosques and I never hear the azan and there is no issue ever and everyone leaves peacefully together.
    Our faith is within us, in our heart, we don’t need symbols to thrive.

  39. Elizabeth Vellom

    September 29, 2023 at 7:36 pm

    I purchased my home in Hamtramck in 2016 and can tell you the call to prayer noise pollution has become an absolute nightmare. I am not Muslim and have no idea what the song means but from the start I found it very beautiful and calming. Fast forward seven years and the call has persistently become louder and longer. Last week at 5:40 am the call was so loud multiple dogs began barking and the babies who live on my street (one next door, one across the street) were woken and screaming. This is not a religious issue. Residents of this beautiful little town deserve respect from their neighbors. That’s it, that’s all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *