Swedish prosecutors have decided to charge a 22-year-old man for honking his horn outside the Fittja mosque in Stockholm, citing his intention to disturb the Muslim congregation.
Prosecutor Christina Weilander filed the charges with Södertörn district court on August 23rd, pertaining to an incident outside the mosque on May 3rd - the second Friday that the mosque used its minaret to broadcast the call to prayer since Swedish police allowed congregation leaders to proceed.
Two witnesses were cited in the document filed with the district court.
The 22-year-old is being charged with "störande av förrättning", the crime of intentionally disrupting a religious or spiritual ceremony - including weddings and funerals. It also outlaws disturbing court cases and certain state proceedings, and is punishable with up to six months in jail according to Sweden's penal code.
The defendant, meanwhile, has denied the charge that he on purpose sounded his horn to disturb the congregation as the call to prayer rang out at the mosque, which lies next to a lake and a car park in the southern suburb. There are no residential properties in the immediate vicinity.
There was also a disturbance from passers-by the week before, as reported by The Local, during Sweden's first call to prayer on April 26th, when two men in a red Volvo spun their wheels furiously by the curb, before racing off down the road.
A long-held discussion about whether to allow the call to prayer ended earlier this year when Botkyrka Municipality scrapped a 1994 prohibition on allowing prayer calls, which dated back from before the construction of the mosque.
The mosque was built in 2007 in the municipality's Fittja district and has over 1,500 congregation members.
The Stockholm police eventualy removed the final hurdle for prayer calls, ruling that it would be allowed for between three to five minutes on Fridays between midday and 1pm.
Sweden's News in English
August 28, 2013