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'Wise and Thought-Out Decision': Swedish Bishop Welcomes Minaret Calls

CC BY 2.0 / News Øresund - Johan Wessman / Malmö MosqueMalmö Mosque (photo used for illustration purpose only)
Malmö Mosque (photo used for illustration purpose only) - Sputnik International
According to the Bishop of Växjö, the controversial decision to green-light Islamic calls for prayer, which have previously caused hot debates among locals, will have a positive effect on integration, despite the 110 decibel loud calls.

After a deliberation time of several months, the police gave granted permission for the Växjö Muslim Foundation's application for weekly minaret calls, Swedish Radio reported.

The permit is valid for a year and allows for prayer calls to be sent every Friday.

"Permits are based on certain conditions being met, such as the noise level not exceeding 45 decibels indoors and 110 decibels in outdoor environments. The speakers outside the mosque should also be tuned as instructed by the police authorities," the police wrote in a press release.

Although some locals previously argued that Muslim prayer calls constitute a violation of freedom of religion, as a religious message will be publicly broadcast via outdoor speakers, the police have by their own admission never taken the content of the broadcast into consideration.

Earlier, interpreter Bassam Al-Baghdady, the founder and the chairman of the Center for Secular Education, revealed in his blog that the Växjö Mosque spreads "extremist ideology" and "hateful messages" against Jews and Christians on its Facebook page, which has been taken down.

READ MORE: Norwegian Party Ready to Skip 'Stupid' Human Rights, Ban Loud Minaret Calls

The news outlet Nyheter Idag pointed out that the police had refrained from asking the neighbors about the prayer calls, despite the fact that the mosque's surroundings include a residential area and several kindergartens. Klas Werme, head of legal department in Police Region South, admitted to Nyheter Idag that the case was processed in a "fast and cheap" way.

The municipality's Conservative chairperson Anna Tenje is critical of the decision, which, she ventured, is poised to "tear Växjö further apart," national broadcaster SVT reported.

READ MORE: 'Come to Stay': Muslim Community Clamors for Minaret Calls to 'Enrich Sweden'

On the other hand, Fredrik Modéus, the Bishop of Växjö, called the minaret's new prayer permit a "wise and a well thought-out decision" that made him "happy," the local newspaper Smålandsposten reported.

"I am particularly pleased with this decision, which shows that freedom of religion applies in this country. We often take religious freedom for granted, but we know from history that it is not a given," Modéus said, stressing the positive effect of this decision on integration.

In February, Modéus tweeted that he was "looking forward to hearing both church bells and prayer calls in the city."

Växjö is a city of 66,000 inhabitants in the Kronoberg County and is the episcopal see of the eponymous diocese. The Muslim Foundation of Växjö has existed for more than three decades, and is one of the oldest of its kind in the region.

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