Swedish police in the town of Växjö have granted a local mosque the right to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer, with the local Church of Sweden bishop supporting the move as a “well thought-out decision”.
The police decision to allow the broadcast of the Islamic call to prayer comes after the Växjö Muslim Foundation made the demand back in February, claiming that allowing the call to prayer would aid integration.
The call to prayer will be allowed on Fridays for over three minutes in the early afternoon, but many politicians have expressed sharp criticism over the decision, Aftonbladet reports.
Anna Tenje, a local politician and member of the Moderate Party, commented that she did not believe the call to prayer would aid in integration efforts, and said she regretted the police decision.
“If the Church of Sweden set up a tape recorder in the cathedral that proclaimed God’s message, I would have been negative to that too. I like the secular society and would like to defend it,” she added.
‘We Are Not Visitors’: Muslims in Sweden Demand Mosque Call to Prayer https://t.co/FJhWiiaGfl
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 13, 2018
Local Church of Sweden bishop Fredrik Modeus took the opposite stance, saying that he thought the police had made a “well thought-out decision”.
“In particular, I am pleased that the decision shows that religious freedom applies widely in our country,” he said.
Modeus had previously voiced his support for the call to prayer in February, saying: “I welcome the application and look forward to hearing both church bells and prayer announcements in our city.”
The issue has also attracted attention on a national level in Sweden, with Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch Thor calling it “unfortunate” while Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said the matter was up to each individual municipality, and that he saw the issue as having to do with local public order rather than religion.
Ms Busch Thor has previously called for a ban on the public broadcast of the call to prayer, saying the purpose of it “is to proclaim the spiritual power of religion over a residential area.”