LONDON, ONT. -- The London Muslim Mosque joined mosques in other communities in sounding out a call to prayer on Wednesday.

Ali Jomaa, chair of the board at London Muslim Mosque, says a call to prayer has never been done locally before.

“We know that in Middle Eastern countries, in Muslim countries, the call to prayer is done on five daily prayers, but here in Canada we felt it was only important now because we want to participate in what we see other religious denominations doing in the world.”

With the new COVID-19 restrictions prohibiting any large gatherings, people are not allowed to participate in religious services.

Members of the Muslim community welcome the symbolic nature of the call to prayer in the time of COVID-19, to provide a sense of comfort.

“We have the opportunity to spread our words outside our mosque,” says Amin Al-Ali, the Imam at the mosque who sounds the call to prayer, “it will inspire everybody from the community.”

The call to prayer will last three minutes and cannot be any louder than 70 decibels, which is equivalent to the volume of a vacuum.

Jomaa worked closely with city staff who have administrative powers to permit it and changes have been made to the city’s sound bylaw.

“We want to respect the neighbours,” says Jomaa, “We are doing the call of prayer at the back side of the building and we will listen to anyone who has a complaint.”

The Muslim community is in the middle of Ramadan, a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community, which started on April 23 and ends the evening of May 23.

Al-Ali, says he hopes to continue to sound the call to prayer until the COVID-19 pandemic ends and people can return to the prayer halls.

“We are still here, our mosque is still functioning. We have messages to send to the community because when they hear it, they will get hope.”