Ottawa’s Muslim call to prayer? It’s an app

Ottawa’s Muslim community, which comprised 3.9 per cent of the city’s population in the 2006 census, is out of luck if they’re listening for a public daily reminder. There is only one mosque in Ottawa with a minaret capable of performing the call, though it has never been used to do so, says Mohamed Ghadban, the president of the Ottawa Muslim Association.

Without a public call to prayer, many Muslims rely on technology to keep track of changing prayer times. “When there weren’t digital watches, no atomic clocks, and all these ways to tell time, people needed to hear something, or people needed to tell each other what time to pray,” said Amira Elmi. “I usually just Google the time.”

Mahfoudhi said he uses his smart phone for accurate prayer times. “We’ve gotten around the restriction of not being allowed to do it publicly, and we actually have a little app,” said Mahfoudhi.