STOCKHOLM – Anatolia News Agency
Fittja Grand Mosque in the Swedish capital Stockholm. AA photo
A mayor’s council in Sweden has approved for the first time the reciting the “azan,” the Muslims call to prayer, from the minaret of a mosque.
As from the end of March, the azan is expected to be recited on Fridays from the minaret of the Fittja Grand Mosque in the Swedish capital Stockholm. Chairman of Botkyrka Islam Culture Association İsmail Okur said they had requested permission from the district’s municipality by lodging an appeal on Jan. 24, 2012. The municipality’s positive response approving their demand was recently obtained.
Discussions in the council about the call to prayer reportedly caused tension. Three members of the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) opposed the approval by claiming that it would amount to propaganda for Islam. However, a majority of the council agreed to approve recitation of the call to prayer, saying this was a fundamental human rights need.
Okur expressed his gratitude after learning the decision. “We thank the members of the council for the approval. We are all very happy. Now the matter will be technically investigated, and the mosque’s sound systems will be checked. This will probably take one month. So, we can say that the religious official in our mosque can recite the first azan toward the end of March,” he said.
The Fittja Grand Mosque was constructed with financial aid from Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (DİB) and benefactors in Sweden.