That just may have been a traditional call of the minaret you heard in Mississauga at sundown Wednesday.
Mississauga mosques will have similar sounds each evening during Ramadan, the Toronto Sun has learned.
Mayor Bonnie Crombie said a compromise passed by Mississauga City Council Wednesday will offer some comfort to the city’s Islamic community with Ramadan falling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mississauga’s municipal politicians voted unanimously to temporarily waive current noise bylaw restrictions “for the broadcasting of the evening call to prayer from local mosques and other non-residential buildings regularly used for worship, for the period of Ramadan . . . up to May 24, 2020.”
The adjustment allows the call to be “broadcast only once per day for a maximum of 5 minutes.” Mosques, of course, will remain closed as ordered by the province when it imposed emergency measures designed to help fight the pandemic.
“Council’s decision today to support the symbolic broadcasting of the call to prayer during Ramadan this year will provide inspiration, familiarity and comfort to our city’s Muslim community during this challenging time,” explained Crombie.
She stressed that the decision to waive the noise bylaw was not intended to act as an invitation for people to gather at mosques.
“Council was pleased to make this temporary exemption to our noise bylaw in response to a request made by the Muslim Council of Peel and mosques across Mississauga,” she added.
At the mayor’s virtual news conference Wednesday — held to announce the city met an $840,000 fundraising goal for food banks — Paramount Fine Foods CEO Mohamad Fakih said the Muslim community is appreciative of council’s gesture.
The City of Toronto will do the same, if asked.
“Normally amplified sound would not be allowed, but at this time, any mosque requesting the call to prayer is being granted,” said Toronto spokesman Tammy Robbinson.
Crombie said lifting the bylaw offers Muslims hope during the lockdown which has kept them from joining friends and family during Ramadan. “During this time of isolation and unknowns, it will be comforting for many to hear the familiar call to prayer.”