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오슬로의 이슬람교, 자신들의 기도 확대 방송권 획득

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2000-04-04 00:24
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Oslo's Muslims - and 'heathens'- win right to broadcast their
beliefs
ENI-00-0127

By Bjarke Larsen
Copenhagen, 31 March (ENI)--For the first time ever Muslim calls
for prayer can now be heard from a minaret in central Oslo, the
capital of Norway.

The city council in Gamle, central Oslo, where there is a mosque
serving the city's Muslim community, has decided to give
permission for the call to prayer to be made once a week. It will
last 2 or 3 minutes at noon each Friday, according to an
application submitted to the council by the Norwegian branch of
the World Islamic Mission.

The council has ordered that the noise made by the call,
broadcast through loudspeakers, must not exceed 60 decibels.

The permission was granted following a heated debate in Norway,
a country with many strong religious organisations, including the
(Lutheran) Church of Norway, to which more than 90 per cent of
the four million Norwegians belong. During the debate many people
expressed fears that this northern European country's Christian
traditions could be threatened by calls for prayer and other
public signs of worship by the growing Muslim community.

A leading daily newspaper, Aftenposten, invited its readers to
vote on the call to prayer and nine out of 10 people who phoned
in opposed the Muslim request.

A politician from the Christian People's Party also made a
controversial intervention. "Muslim calls for prayer are not
desirable," said Gunnar Prestegaard, who is also a theologian.
"God only has one ambassador. He [Jesus Christ] has a unique
position, and Muhammad does not reach even his ankles."

However, another member of parliament, Erik Solheim, described
Prestegaard's comments as "the same kind of fundamentalism that
we fear so much in other parts of the world".

A group called the Norwegian Association of Heathens complicated
the debate by asking for permission to make public declarations,
through megaphones, using the words: "God does not exist - come
to our meeting".

The council agreed to the request - with the same conditions
given to the World Islamic Mission.

Both the Lutheran Church of Norway and the Norwegian
Inter-Church Council have supported the council's decision to
allow the Muslim call to prayer. "Calls to prayer are obviously a
question of freedom of religion," said Hans Arne Akeroe,
spokesman for the (Lutheran) Bishop of Oslo. "I have been
surprised to see the level of scepticism in the Norwegian
population. It is sad that for many people religious freedom
apparently is not a fundamental right."

In an editorial published shortly before the city council took
its decision, Vort Land, a Christian newspaper, praised the
Islamic community's handling of the controversy. "Leaders of the
Muslim community have gone to great lengths to prevent their
request from turning into a hostile issue which could cause
hatred and bad feeling between the Muslims and the rest of the
society in which they now live. Let us hope that the same
attitude can be adopted by those Christians who have reacted most
strongly."

The opposition to the calls to prayer has been strongly
supported by some independent churches in Norway and by the
Progressive Party, a conservative, populist party.

In the final vote by the city council, two members of the
Progressive Party, along with one member of the Conservative
Party, voted against. The other nine members of the council voted
in favour.