25 April 2018
Norway party to seek ban on Islamic call to prayer
Oslo’s Jamaat Ahle Sunnat mosque does not at present issue the call to prayer.
Norway’s anti-immigration Progress Party, part of the ruling two-party coalition, is set to vote on banning the Muslim call to prayer in Norway when it meets for its national meeting this weekend.
The proposal is aimed to counter alleged plans by some mosques in Norway to begin issuing the Islamic call to worship, as has been allowed at two mosques in neighbouring Sweden.
“In several places in the country have now established regulations under which mosques have permission to issue the call to prayer over loudspeakers,” claims the local party in Buskerud county, west of Oslo, which made the proposal.
“A great many people perceive this as annoying and inappropriate. In Norway we have freedom of religion, which should also include the right not to be exposed to public calls to prayer.”
The party’s former leader Carl Hagen presented a proposal for a similar ban in 2000.
But in the past, the Ministry of Justice has concluded that such a ban would be contrary to Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
The party’s immigration policy spokesman, Jon Helgheim told the Vårt Land newspaper that he was not concerned with whether the law was permissible under the Convention.
“I don’t give a toss what human rights provisions say in this case,” he said. “What I care about is that people get peace and quiet in their neighbourhoods, and that means not being disturbed by the call to prayer. If there are conflicting provisions in the Convention on Human Rights, I simply don’t care, because it’s completely stupid.”
Vårt Land said it had managed to find no actual examples of mosques in Norway that are planning to begin issuing the call.
But in 2013, the Fittja mosque in southern Stockholm began issuing the call to prayer on Fridays, and in 2017 a mosque in Karlskrona was given permission to use speakers for five prayers a day.
The mosque’s head said that it would “in the initial phase” only issue one call to prayer a week on Fridays, as it was a residential area.