Controversy struck a mosque in Växjö, a town in southern Sweden, when they requested a permit to install a speaker to broadcast the adhan (call to prayer). The country’s right-wing politicians not only blocked it, but they managed to actually ban the adhan. This appalled many including Aron Verständig, head of the Stockholm Jewish Community, who stood up for the local Muslim community. He said that preventing mosques from announcing the call to prayer “would damage integration in the country”, and drew parallels to the treatment of Jews in Sweden in the 1700s, citing that such treatment stands as a clear barrier to integration.
“These kind of arguments have occurred throughout history,” he told a local paper. “In Sweden we’ve always had them: people come here, then there are big demands placed on them in order to fit in, and that’s not something that helps integration. Rather, what helps integration is if you say to people: welcome to Sweden, here are the laws we have, everyone must follow them regardless, but beyond that, it makes no difference if you’re a Muslim, you’re a Christian, you’re a Jew, whatever your religion is.”