Minneapolis authorities condemned for imposing curfew at start of Ramadan

Minneapolis authorities condemned for imposing curfew at start of Ramadan
The city's authorities, who imposed a curfew extending to multiple counties, have been condemned for failing to immediately issue a religious exemption for Muslims marking the first night of Ramadan.
2 min read
14 April, 2021
Curfews came after protests against the police killing of an unarmed black man [AFP]

Washington DC, The New Arab - Authorities in the US city of Minneapolis imposed an evening curfew extending to several counties late Monday, following demonstrations sparked by the police shooting of an unarmed young Black man.

Falling on the first night of Ramadan, the curfew's announcement prompted Muslim leaders to immediately demand a religious exemption.

One was issued an hour later, after news of the curfew was widely published and without a publicised correction.

Speaking to The New Arab, Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations – Minnesota, accused Minneapolis authorities of negligence.

"Usually they would call us. They didn't do that this time," said Jaylan, adding: "It was an embarrassment for everyone".

"They forgot. It was just negligence. How do you forget in a state with such a big Muslim population?"

Speculating on possible causes of the blunder, Hussein recalled the departure of a young Muslim employee at the local government office that had issued the curfew, something which had left the office void of Muslim staff.

"That's why having a diverse staff is a good thing,” said Hussein.

Due to poor publicity of the curfew's religious exemption, Hussein believes the number of people who left their homes to pray was minimal on the first night of the Muslim holy month, and that some mosques may have closed as a result.

He said: "Curfews should respect religious rights, except in cases of extreme violence."

Brooke Anderson is The New Arab's correspondent in Washington D.C., covering US and international politics, business and culture.

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