Surrey’s Muslim Community Forced To Settle For Less

I thought I lived in a diverse and inclusive City, but… at a time on this planet, when the COVID-19 pandemic is making things more difficult for everyone, we should be looking for ways to make important things easier and not more difficult. We should be looking for solutions and not creating barriers.

All large venues have been closed, and personal distancing is the new norm. arenas, churches, gurdwaras, gyms, recreational centers, libraries and mosques, to name a few, are now empty. People are finding new ways to conform to these new realities. However, the Mayor of Surrey has built roadblocks instead of pathways for the Muslim Community in Surrey.

During Ramadan, Muslims go through their fasting rituals, and each evening there is a break from fasting when there is a call to prayer. Our Muslim Community asked the City of Surrey for a broadcast of this prayer, known as Adhaan, for the final ten days of Ramadan. This request was for one Mosque in Surrey to broadcast this prayer at dusk, as a symbolic gesture during a time when the Mosques are empty. No social gathering, just one person, broadcasting a 2-4-minute call to prayer.

Every other city in Canada, which received a similar request like this, has proudly adopted the request. Our neighbours in Vancouver and Burnaby have these in place, right now, for a nightly broadcast at dusk. In Surrey? Not a chance. The Mayor’s first reply to the request was one day only and at the end of Ramadan. The second reply was the last five days of Ramadan. This request shouldn’t be treated like a bargaining session. This should have been treated with the dignity and respect that other major cities in Canada have shown.

The City of Surrey celebrates and permits many occasions and events. A number of those are done with loud music and speeches. We seem to get through the noise volumes of Canada Day, Fusion Fest, Vaisakhi, Cloverdale Rodeo, Santa Parade, FVED in the Park and other events that create some noise levels for extended periods. To worry about one location in Newton, for ten days and 2 to 4 minutes of prayer seems excessive.

Come on… change this. It’s no different than the 7:00 pm salute to our frontline heroes… or are you going to stop that too?


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