“We have been crowding together in a cellar now for twenty years, and as there are more members every month, it was time to buy larger premises,“ said Skender Zekic of the Swedish-Romani Association, which works together with the Bosnian association and al Houda, to the local Eskilstunakuriren daily.
The church in Flen in eastern Sweden, had been on the market since November last year when the al Houda Muslim Centre approached the real estate agency with the intent to buy the church.
The decision to sell had come after two congregations joined together and one of the premises therefore became surplus to requirements.
However, selling the church to a Muslim organisation was not a decision that the congregation took lightly, according to Christina Blomqvist.
“There were very many discussions back and forward and some anguish among a few of our members who felt that it was wrong due to the persecution of Christians in some Muslim countries,” chairperson Christina Blomqvist told The Local.
But in the end the organisation couldn’t see any hindrance for the sale to go through.
After serious soul-searching the congregation had decided there was no reason to punish the Muslims in Sweden for the persecution of Christians in other countries.
The Muslims that are in Sweden, have good reasons to be here, they argued, and in the end came to the decision came down to a question of a display of goodwill.
“We decided we wanted to show our Christian love towards them,“ Blomqvist said.
The Muslim organisation will now seek to raise the 4 million kronor ($641,444) required in order to finalise the sale. The organisation is hoping to be able to do so within a year’s time and issued a call for donations.