Written by Karin Bengtsdotter
If permitted, Sweden would be well on its way to joining the House of Islam
In an editorial in Aftonbladet, Anders Lindberg claims that Muslims are not allowed to call to worship in the same way as Christians are. It's actually a lie. Muslims and Christians do not call to worship in the same way and never have. "... let's be honest, those today who object in various formal ways and for other reasons to allowing prayer calls from mosques would never do the same if it were a church," he writes.
He misses the point. To compare the muezzin of a mosque with the bells of the Swedish churches is just a classic nonsense argument from a cultural “know-it-all”, who insists on pretending that Sweden is greatly lacking in traditions and culture to the extent that there is no difference between Christianity and other religions.
I say "pretending" because that's what Anders Lindberg does. There is indeed a difference between Christianity's and Islam's position in Sweden and it is neither caused by "Islamophobia" nor intolerance. It is based on our cultural heritage.
Sweden has adhered to Christianity for a thousand years. The majority of the country's population view many – perhaps even most – of the Christian traditions as an integral part of Swedish culture. This may, of course, be perceived as unfair, but it is nonetheless a fact. Islam is not a part of Swedish culture and traditions in the same way as Christianity. And if Islam should ever become part of our culture, Sweden would no longer be Sweden but a province of the Dar al-Islam (the House of Islam).
However, that does not mean that people would remain silent if Christian priests suddenly began demanding that The Lord’s Prayer be broadcast via loudspeakers to an entire neighborhood. Sweden is a secular country and religion is increasingly becoming a private matter. One cannot be certain that even the church bells will be immune from criticism indefinitely.
Islam cannot be a part of Swedish culture as long as many Muslim spokesmen show great reluctance to embrace secular Swedish traditions and even Swedish laws. That was evidenced in the TV-program “Uppdrag granskning” not long ago. To this very day several Swedish imams would like to have "blasphemy" against Muhammed banned in Swedish law. The Imam Ali Islamic Center has submitted a letter to the government demanding a ban on "insulting religions" – in other words, restricting freedom of expression.
This arrogant attitude towards the laws of secular and democratic Sweden marks a distinction between "us" and "them." It is the Muslim leaders themselves who draw the line by rejecting Swedish law and by refusing to accept that Muhammad is sacred only to themselves and not to non-Muslims.
Anders Lindberg continues:
Those who want to discuss the problems of Muslim women wearing veils do not care about nuns or clerical clothing in the same way. They rarely want to restrict faithful Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, or for that matter Hare Krishna's rights to dress as they please.
Here, Anders Lindberg shows a frightening ignorance. It is impossible to equate clothing worn by adults who have voluntarily entered monasteries or joined some religious community with the Muslim veil. The custom of Muslim women wearing veils is based on the Koranic Sura 24, Verse 31, which orders Muslim women "to glance down, to be modest, to cover their chests and not emphasize their features to strangers", and Sura 33, Verse 59, which encourages women to "enfold their coats around them when going out".
When we consider that this outdated and degrading view of women is applied to small children too, Anders Lindberg's postulated right "to dress as they please" falls flat on its face.