A Muslim mosque has been taken to court by local residents here over the mosque's use of outdoor speakers to call the faithful to prayer five times a day.
Local residents have complained that they can hear the chants a half mile away and that the noise bothers them. One neighbor has filed a complaint against three mosque officials charging them with violating the city's noise ordinance.
Muslim leaders say the complaint infringes their constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion.
"The purpose of the call is to have the people hear it and some obey," said Musa Jebril, one of the mosque leaders named in the suit. "If the people don't hear it, we have no purpose of it. No one can quiet it down. No one has the authority to quiet it down."
The mosque is located in an area that has one of the largest concentrations of Arabs in the country. The 90-second call to prayer, which Muslims refer to as the Azan, is broadcast once at 5:30 a.m., twice in the afternoon and twice in the evening.
In part, the call says: "Allah is the greatest. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah. I bear witness that Mohammed in the messenger of Allah. Come to prayer."
Jebril said the Muslim faith dictates that the call be made in a prescribed hour.
"We cannot change the words," he said. "We cannot change the time. No human being can change the time. This is appointed by our prophet, Mohammed."
Dearborn City Attorney William Hultgren argued that nobody was trying to deny Muslims their religious rights. "The ordinance we've got doesn't purport to regulate religion, it just purports to regulate noise."