Posted on October 20, 2021

Call of the Wild

Bruce Bawer, American Greatness, October 18, 2021

In at least some parts of the United States, the Muslim call to prayer, known as the “adhan” or “azan” (Arabic for “announcement”), is a familiar sound. {snip}

Since the 1970s, for example, the adhan has been broadcast five times a day from the roof of the American Moslem Society in Dearborn (which has one of the country’s highest populations of Muslims per capita). A mosque in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant began doing the same thing in 1981.

In 2004, residents of Hamtramck, Michigan (which has been described as America’s only Muslim-majority city), voted to officially allow adhans that were already being broadcast from several mosques. By that point, mosques in Detroit, which surrounds Hamtramck, had also been broadcasting adhans for some time.

In Minneapolis, which is also heavily Muslim (Democrat Ilhan Omar is its representative in Congress), the Dar Ul Hijra Mosque started broadcasting the adhan in April of last year, after Mayor Jacob Frey issued a permit for it. Two months later, Robert Spencer reported that residents of Culver City in Los Angeles County (the longtime home of MGM) were up in arms about the adhan being broadcast five times a day, beginning at 4:30 a.m., from the King Fahad Mosque.

But in the United States, anyway, such dust-ups don’t last long and don’t have much of an impact on government actions. Nor have they succeeded in turning the adhan into a major national issue.

In Western Europe, however, for a number of reasons, the situation is somewhat different—although it varies from country to country. Generally speaking, mosques, even when permitted to do so, have chosen not to broadcast the adhan, or to do so on a very limited basis and at very low volume; when the issue has come up, moreover, there’s been outspoken criticism and national headlines.


Why is the adhan a bigger issue for many Western Europeans than for Americans? My guess: since Muslims in Western Europe make up a far larger percentage of the population than their coreligionists in the United States and have exerted more pressure to adjust social and cultural norms to accommodate their own values, many native Europeans view the Muslim call to prayer as one more step on the road to total Islamization; because they’ve had more exposure to Islam than most Americans, they’re more likely to understand that the adhan isn’t just a couple of minutes of innocuous warbling but an aggressive assertion of power and a deliberate slap at other faiths that can only lead to, well, worse.

The adhan states that “there is no God but Allah.” And it includes the words Allahu Akbar—“Allah is greater”—the same declaration of supremacy and subjugation made by suicide bombers.

But, as I say, the attitude toward the adhan varies from country to country. In the Netherlands, dozens of mosques have been broadcasting it for years; but British mosques weren’t granted permission to broadcast it until earlier this spring, and in France (which has the largest Muslim population in Europe) it’s rarely broadcast from mosques—although, until 2017, when the practice was banned, large groups of Muslims would routinely stop traffic by spreading their prayer blankets out on busy city streets and kneeling to pray, often setting up loudspeakers beforehand to broadcast the adhan.

In Denmark, this issue came to a head in May of last year. After a radical mosque in Århus began broadcasting the adhan from loudspeakers on a soccer field (!), the national parliament voted against a measure, supported by three major parties—and by three-quarters of Danish citizens—that would have prohibited its broadcasting in public.

In Sweden, whose political leaders have bowed and scraped to Islam even more pathetically than their counterparts elsewhere in Europe—and where some church officials have called for churches to install Muslim prayer spaces—the adhan has been broadcast from at least one mosque since 2013.


Then again, it’s hard not to experience the adhan as militant, threatening—not just a call to prayer but a territorial claim. It sounds like a battle cry. To hear it is to be reminded that Islam is, yes, a warlike faith, a religion of conquest.