Sweden: First request for muezzin

Sweden: First request for muezzin

Following similar requests in Germany and Belgium, a Swedish mosque is now talking about broadcasting a call to prayer. There are already mosques in Europe with a muezzin call: most only for Friday afternoon prayers, though some do have a muezzin call five times a day. Though the sudden flurry of stories about mosques making such requests might be due to increased media attention, it does seem like it's a trend, a sort of Muslim response to the minaret ban referendum.

In Switzerland, in any case, as part of the push against the referendum, President Hans-Rudolf Merz promised that the muezzin call will not sound in Switzerland. While various polls show that some European countries support the right of Muslims to minarets, I doubt the same holds true for the muezzin.

According to the news report, the mosque is starting by requesting permission for a Friday call to prayer, but hopes that in the future they'll be able to have one every day.


The mosque Fittja near Stockholm wants to introduce a call to prayer outdoors before the Friday prayers. This is the first time in Sweden that an Islamic association is asking for such permission.

Today the call to prayer before every prayer is done inside the mosque. But in the future the Islamic association of Botkyrka wants the Friday prayers to start with a call to prayer from the minaret of the mosque.

"For us Muslims it's important to call to prayer, it's a big part of our culture," says Ismail Okur, chairman of the Islamic association of Botkyrka.
In Albysjön in Fittja there is one of several mosques in the Stockholm area. When the ABC show visited the mosque during midday prayers, there were about 30 people there who came to pray. But on Fridays, up to 1,000 people come to Friday prayers.

Nusret Bucic, a worshipper at the mosque, says that if they won't get permission, they'll accept it. "We can't complain about people, but must comply with the Swedish rules. But naturally it would be good with a proper call to prayer."

In a recent Sifo survey conducted for SVT, 51% of the people in the Stockholm area said they thought minarets should be allowed. 23% thought they should be banned, and 25% had no opinion.

"I think they should adapt to the culture to which they come, and therefore I don't think a call to prayer outside is very good," says Birgit Lorvik, a local resident.

Once the request is formally submitted it would be dealt with by the municipality, a process which could take a long time.

Source: SVT (Swedish)

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