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Muslim prayer call could cause PTSD in soldiers who served in MidEast, Canadian petitioners claim

Twelve percent of Mississauga's 715,000 residents are Muslim [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 May, 2020

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The Canadian city of Mississauga has faced backlash for allowing mosques to broadcast the evening call to prayer during Ramadan.
A Canadian city has faced backlash for allowing local mosques to broadcast the evening call to prayer during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, according to a Wednesday VICE report.

Last month, the city of Mississauga temporarily suspended the enforcement of noise bylaws to allow mosques to broadcast the "adhan" - the Islamic call to prayer - after the Covid-19 pandemic halted Ramadan mosque gatherings.

The motion also specified the calls to prayer cannot encourage people to gather.

The temporary decision was soon met with online backlash and calls to reverse it.

According to VICE, an open letter attached to several online petitions against the move deemed broadcasts of the Islamic call the prayer a "violation of human rights".

"Those who would like to celebrate religious holidays should be allowed to do so without infringing on the rights of others," it said.

The letter also suggested that broadcasting the adhan could trigger PTSD for Canadian soldiers who served in the Middle East.

The petitions, which attracted thousands of signatures on Change.org and CitizenGo.org, have since been taken down. A Change.org spokesperson told VICE they violated "hate speech community guidelines".

A different open letter condemning the decision was posted on Facebook by local pharmacist Hani Tawfilis, a prominent member of Mississauga's Coptic community who ran unsuccessfully as a Conservative party candidate in Canada's last federal elections.

Tawfilis' post reiterated that broadcasting the Islamic call to prayer could trigger Canadian veterans, claiming the adhan includes "words used by ISIS" that announced a "call of an attack".

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie told VICE she has received multiple "disturbing" emails, phone calls and social media posts opposing the decision.

"While people are entitled to their own opinion, there is zero place for hate or intolerance in our city," she said.

According to Canada's population census, 12 percent of Mississauga's 715,000 residents are Muslim.

Local media on Wednesday reported municipal authorities are considering a motion asking that the decision be reversed.

As more Canadian cities - such as Toronto and Ottawa - allowed mosques to broadcast the call to prayer during Ramadan, the country's far-right doubled down on Islamophobic sentiment through social media.

In Brampton, a school council chair was dismissed after a tweet asking whether his city will also enact "separate lanes for camel and goat riders" and "bylaw requiring all women to cover themselves from head to toe in tents".

According to the National Council of Canadian Muslims, an Edmonton man with "white supremacist ties" posted about going on a "Ramadan Bombathon" and staked out a local mosque.

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