Växjö – A Swedish mosque is under heavy pressure, as neighbors have now reported to police, complaining against its airing Adhan, call to prayer, from its minarets.
“We didn’t think we needed to apply for a new permit because we got one in 2014,” Imam Ismail Abu Helal told Swedish Radio, Sputnik News reported.
The Muslim Foundation in the city of Växjö, which previously made national headlines when it sought permission for public prayer calls.
Police warned that unless the case is dismissed by the prosecution, the Muslim Foundation risks being fined.
“It’s serious when an organization commits a crime. You must have permission to broadcast propaganda or other messages,” Ola Severinsson of the Växjö police said.
Supporting his Muslim neighbors, Bishop Modeus called on his fellow Christians to “try to get to know people who are different,” adding that “then we will discover that they are people, like us.”
In response, the Sweden Democrats (SD) have started collecting signatures for a referendum petition in an attempt to stop the prayer calls.
“We aim to protect each citizen’s right to freedom from religious expression and propaganda in the public space,” SD Växjö chairman Nils Sjöqvist Axelson told the Nyheter Idag news outlet, suggesting that prayer calls left a “tangible touch” on the local community and its public image.
Imam Ismail Abu Helal previously described Adhan from minaret “beneficial for integration” as a “confirmation of Sweden’s religious freedom.”
The adhan is the call to announce that it is time for a particular obligatory Salah (ritual prayer). The adhan is called five times a day.
But Muslims in the West were often unable to make the Adhan for prayers as local authorities argue that the call would cause noise disturbance to residents.
In April 2013, worshippers at the Fittja mosque in southern Stockholm heard Sweden’s first-ever call to prayer, which brought some congregation members to tears of joy
Muslims make up between 450,000 and 500,000 of Sweden’s nine million people, according to the US State Department report in 2011.
Växjö is a city of 66,000 inhabitants in the Kronoberg County and is the episcopal see of the eponymous diocese. About half of Araby district residents are foreign-born.
The Muslim Foundation of Växjö has existed for more than three decades and is one of the oldest of its kind in the region.