LONDON, May 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A London suburb totalling a mere 15 square miles in size and with a population of less than 300,000 people has granted permission for the first time to nine mosques to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer during Ramadan.
The news was published earlier this month in an article in The Metro, which included a video of the “Adhan” being chanted above from the roof of a mosque in Waltham Forest.
Waltham Forest is one London’s 32 boroughs, each of which has its own elected local council.
Clare Coghill, the leader of Waltham Forest Council, said that the Adhan being broadcast was “an alternative form of connection” for Muslims, with mosques currently closed along with all other places of worship in the U.K. as part of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
“Ramadan is normally a time for the Muslim community to come together to pray and break their fast,” she said.
“Like many aspects of all our lives, this has been affected by Covid-19 and the requirement to remain socially distant. As an alternative form of connection during this special month, the Waltham Forest Council of Mosques contacted the council to request that as an alternative to congregating they announce a short call to prayer at a number of mosques adapted to remind worshippers to stay at home,” she continued.
“The council considered the request as it would with any religious or faith group looking to responsibly worship during this difficult time. Ramadan Mubarak to all our Muslim community.”
The Adhan will be broadcast each day at sunset, with an additional broadcast each Friday. The words in the Adhan state: “Allah is the greatest. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Come to prayer. Come to salvation.”
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the senior Catholic cleric in the U.K., marked the beginning of Ramadan by joining a host of religious leaders in an interfaith event titled “Ramadan at Home,” organised by the Naz Legacy.
Join us for a historic #RamadanAtHome TODAY 735pm
— NazLegacyFoundation (@NazLegacy) May 6, 2020
The Catholic bishops of England & Wales prohibited the celebration of public Masses before the lockdown came into force and, according to their own statement, played a crucial role themselves in convincing the government to require that churches be closed altogether.
Nichols recently told Catholics in Britain that it would be a “scandal” to open churches for private prayer.