STOCKHOLM – A local Muslim community’s plea to the southern Swedish town of Vaxjö to allow them to broadcast the call to prayer, or adhan, found an unlikely supporter in the local church.
“[I’m] looking forward to [hearing] the Muslim adhan,” said Bishop Fredrik Modeus, speaking on behalf of the church, Daily Sabah reported Wednesday.
“I’m hoping to hear the sound of adhan alongside church bells,” he said.
Växjö Muslim Foundation submitted an application to broadcast the adhan only once a week, for the Friday prayer.
“Firstly, the situation and security in the area are being examined. Since we previously have never given such a permit, the application is under review,” Vaxjö police department spokesperson Pia Ringius said.
“In Stockholm, such permit was given to one of the mosques. We’ve taken that into account,” Ringius added.
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.
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.”
Muslims make up between 450,000 and 500,000 of Sweden’s nine million people, according to the US State Department report in 2011.
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.