14th Aug, 2020

Muslim call to prayer to ring out across Redditch in grand gesture

Ross Crawford 22nd May, 2020

A MOMENT of history will take place at 2pm today when for the first time ever the Muslim call to prayer will ring our across Redditch.

Emanating from Redditch Central Mosque in Jinnah Road, it will mark the final Muslim holy day of Friday before the end of Ramadan, the Muslim community’s month of fasting.

Every Friday Muslims would normally gather at the Mosque for prayers, and during Ramadan, the fast is broken each day with friends, family and neighbours.

But in this coronavirus scarred year that had not been possible, said Raf Hussain from the Mosque’s management committee.

And so a special request was put in to the Leader of Redditch Borough Council, Councillor Matt Dormer, for the traditional call to prayer to ring out over Redditch, first on Friday and then at the start of the Eid celebrations on Sunday or Monday.

A request to which Coun Dormer was only too happy to agree.

“We were looking for a gesture for the Muslim community – Ramadan is about coming together, but people will be at home instead, and I thought this would be something, not just for the Muslim community, but for all of Redditch,” said Raf.

“Whatever has gone on around the world, the people of Redditch have stood together as one, and I think they will be pleasantly surprised when they hear it.”

The traditional call to prayer still takes place in Redditch but inside the Mosque, not broadcast outside.

“It’s quite melodious and provides an opportunity to reflect and to wonder,” said Raf.

“Whether you are Christian, Jew or Muslim we all believe in the same God, we just have different names for him, different paths leading to the same destination.”

He said the Muslim community has been active throughout the lockdown, helping people right across Redditch as they deal with illness and isolation.

“Part of our faith is charity, helping the poor, but this year it’s been about helping the community.

“Before the lockdown we thought the majority of people ringing up would be Muslim, but actually the ratio has been 70-30 to people who are not Muslim and who have no contact with the Mosque.

“If anything comes out of this crisis it’s that spirit of community.”

Coun Dormer said he was only too happy to give the go-ahead for the call to prayer to ring out.

“This is a very small gesture, and it’s good for the community of all of Redditch, and I actually quite like the sound too.”

The call to prayer will occur today at 2pm and again at 1.45pm at the start of Eid on either Sunday or Monday, May 24 or 25.

Redditch has two Imams, and they will share the honour of doing the calls.

Raf added that there was no intention to make the broadcast call a regular, weekly event.

“On behalf of the Muslim community I would like to thank Redditch Borough Council and especially Councillor Matt Dormer as leader of the Council for this gesture,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter if we are Labour, Conservative or any other party, people have got together to help others. We can have our different opinions but we are all on the same page working together.”

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