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Green light for prayer calls at Swedish mosque

27 Sep 2012, 15:17

Published: 27 Sep 2012 15:17 GMT+02:00

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On Tuesday, a majority of the members of Botkyrka municipality's city planning committee voted in favour of scrapping a 1994 prohibition on allowing prayer calls dating from before the construction of the mosque, located in the municipality's Fittja district, the Dagen newspaper reported.

The Christian Democrats were the only party to vote against allowing the mosque to make prayer calls.

The matter was put to a vote after Ismail Okur, chair of the Botkyrka Islamic Association (Islamiska föreningen i Botkyrka) filed a citizens' petition with the local council in January seeking permission to allow prayer calls at the mosque.

He told Dagen that members of the association decided it was time they took steps to exercise their right to religious freedom in Sweden.

"We've lived our whole lives in Sweden; we've paid taxes; we've been exemplary citizens; we've given a lot to Sweden," he said.

"Now we want to get a little back. Now we want to have religious freedom."

However, the local council's decision to allow prayer calls at the mosque is only the first step toward making Okur's request a reality.

First the entire municipal council and executive board must approve the move. Then the Islamic Association must decide whether to file a request for a permit with local police, or start sounding the call to prayer immediately.

The decision could be of major significance for Sweden, as it could set a precedent for other mosques in the country to follow, according to Dagen.

Stefan Dayne, a Christian Democrat member of the city planning committee who voted against lifting the ban, claimed that members of other parties didn't vote to uphold the prayer call ban because "they were afraid" of losing the support of local Muslims.

"We have nothing against religious freedom. We're for freedom of expression. And we have nothing against Muslims. But we don't think local government has the competence to rule on prayer calls," he told the paper.

"It's a message that's being trumpeted and which can offend other groups and therefore we see it as a matter for the police."

While it remains unclear exactly when, if ever, prayer calls may be heard emanating from the mosque in Fittja, Okur of the Islamic Association welcomed the city planning committee's decision.

"It's great! The prayer call for us is like ringing bells is for churches. It's important," he told Dagen.

Story continues below…

"There are more than 100,000 Muslims in Sweden. Shouldn't we also have our religious freedom?"

Okur stressed, however, that the Islamic Association's initial request was to have a call to prayer once a week, rather than five times a day.

"We have to start somewhere," he said.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

15:10 September 27, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
This is how it starts... then one can claim Saudi style burka coverings are religious freedom, as is have 2 wives who are 14 years old, as is stoning for adultery under Wahabi sharia law, the list can go on and on... not only for Islam, but then other religions that have extreme customs like pentecostal, etc.. Where does religious freedom end?

Truth is, a minaret calls out prayers, of which one main message is Allah is god and there are no others but him. If you believe that, great... but what about the others in the area who have to hear that but they do not believe in that? Where is their religious freedom not to hear a sermon in public?

This is another fine example of Sweden changing its culture and laws to accommodate foreigners. Why should it not be that as a foreigner we conform to Swedish customs? We (I'm a foreigner) want the benefits of being in Sweden without having to give up our own customs and ways no matter how old fashioned or backwards they are. This will be the downfall of Sweden as more and more of us foreigners come and washout Swedish culture... sad.
15:43 September 27, 2012 by shanrizvi
So if one is to scream, on a loudspeaker, "There is no God but Allah", it's an expression of religious freedom and if one is to even publish a cartoon implying that "Allah is no God", it's a violation of religious freedom.
15:50 September 27, 2012 by ringorm
Du gamla du fria...
15:53 September 27, 2012 by rise
...du fjällhöga Nord.
15:54 September 27, 2012 by AHA
Very nice in Muslim countries but in Sweden, a secular country, come on. And it has nothing to do with religious freedom. It is a purly stupid provocation.
16:15 September 27, 2012 by Iraniboy
Hahaha! This can potentially give a heart attack to some of the anti-XYZ commentators here! :D
16:26 September 27, 2012 by rise
What does "anti-XYZ" even mean? Anti-Swedish, anti-native, anti-respectful, anti-grateful? Anti-non-muslims, ah, that must be it.
16:52 September 27, 2012 by skogsbo
I'm sure the muslim world will welcome this move and act in a like manner. It won't be long before Aljazerra will be reporting the ringing of church bells across the roof tops of Riyadh. ;)
17:04 September 27, 2012 by Achilles7
Tolerance and respect work both ways. I am a Christian, and if I were forced to immigrate to a Middle Eastern, Islamic country (heaven forbid), I would not insist that churches were built in my neighbourhood and that bells chimed for every service. I would respect the fact that I had moved to a non-Christian country, and just be thankful that they had taken me in in the first place.

Sweden doesn't realise what a pushover it is - and it's not a strength, it's a weakness. Other cultures and nations would have so much more respect for Sweden if it actually held its ground, stood for something, and was proud of its culture. Sadly, Sweden is slowly letting itself get steamrolled....
17:11 September 27, 2012 by Migga
Religious freedom means that you are free to practise your religion in the privacy of your home, not in public. The public space should be free from any religious expression. I shouldn`t be forced to listen to religious noise when I`m walking in the streets, that is an attack on my freedom. That goes for churches ringing their bells, mosques screaming and whatever the synagogues do.
17:17 September 27, 2012 by bryan73
Didn't the American Indians allow the Pilgrims to ring their church bells?

To be clear, the final decision on Botkyrka's prayer calls has not been made yet. But if this is approved, it seems it would likely set the rule for all of Sweden.

This is going to sound strange in a Swedish town.

To the commenter above who said we can't say that "allah is no god" in Sweden -- we sure can say that. Allah is some made up nonsense like all religions, sucking resources from society, creating conflict and neurotransmitter confusion.

Unfortunately the enlightenment is starting to move backwards.
17:42 September 27, 2012 by StockholmSam
"We've lived our whole lives in Sweden; we've paid taxes; we've been exemplary citizens; we've given a lot to Sweden," he said.

"Now we want to get a little back. Now we want to have religious freedom."

Sorry, but paying taxes and following the rules does not entitle you to anything special or anything more than was already promised or provided before you decided to settle here. You already have the right to pray to your god, but if you think your religious freedom is being infringed upon by not letting you have calls to prayer, then you are sadly mistaken. Those calls to prayer infringe upon our rights to live in a non-religious society. And at what point will you demand rights to keep your daughters out of school in the name of religious freedom? You moved here, you agreed to pay taxes and be exemplary citizens based not on any offer on Sweden's part to change our culture but rather on the agreement that you abide by the rules Sweden already has. I am against all religions, not just Islam. Please take your public prayers and stick them where the sun don't shine.

And while Church bells are also religious, they are a longstanding part of Swedish culture. Besides, they tell us the time.

This is a sad day for Sweden.
17:49 September 27, 2012 by Richard Head
+++"We've lived our whole lives in Sweden; we've paid taxes; we've been exemplary citizens; we've given a lot to Sweden," he said.+++

Sure. If you count vast over-representation in all forms of violent crime, vast over-representation in amount of social bidrag received, harassment of women and many other types of socially unacceptable behavior as giving "a lot to Sweden" then yes, this guy is correct.

The fact of the matter is that their culture is slowly eroding the social fabric of this once-great country and Swedes are content to sit back and watch it happen. It seems that Sweden doesn't understand that when you give these people a centimeter they will take a Swedish mile.
17:57 September 27, 2012 by StockholmSam
Based on the Botkyrka kommun website (below), the above Local article is not quite accurate. Seems they have not said yes to the prayer calls but instead have declared that the argument against prayer calls is without legal merit. Apparently, the discussion is still going on and they are asking those opposed to the measure to please speak up. I say if you have a good point to make, get yourself in front of the Botkyrka city planning committee and raise your voice. Have a read here:

19:28 September 27, 2012 by Emerentia
Why do anyone need prayer calls/church bells these days? Could people not just put an alarm on their phones so they know when to pray/go to church? Maybe download some app with a prayer call or something? Why do religious people have to make noise about their belief?
19:34 September 27, 2012 by IranianBoy
This is a very bad news for Sweden. What's next?

Call for prayers makes noise and for those of us who escaped religious governments is actually bothering.
20:33 September 27, 2012 by frenchviking
I have a religion, it is called "the love of sweden"... and I claim the right to have a Swedish flag by my door (full size) and to play the Swedish National anthem every Sunday from the city hall...

Problem is, if I were Swedish and came out with that... so many people would call me a racist...

but having mosques calling for prayer in areas where being non muslim is actually dangerous (thinking about Malmo areas where Jews have been kicked out by force, or about swedish girls called whores and raped because they do not cover themselves in a primitive way)... that seems ok... I find that dangerous.

There is a reason why France banned the islamic hair clothe (not sure what it is called in english), it is that in muslim areas it is dangerous for non muslim women to be there as they are seen as sinners and therefore it is normal that muslim men punish them...

I must say though that Christians were no better 1000 years ago. We did the very same thing to so many people (american indians, africa, etc...). But that was 1000 years ago and since then we have matured to grow out of religious colonialism.

Unfortunately we do not recognize that islam is still in that phase where it is looking at colonising the world.

Actually Qatar is planning to invest in muslim areas in France and I am scared about this program. Qatar is governed by people supporting extreme practices of islam and their intentions are really not clear. They do not seperate religion from business and from politics, which has me worried about what their purpose is....

Anyway that is just me...

Freedom of speech and islam are not compatible. I am afraid that if we continue to be weak we will loose our freedom of speech and maybe more...

ah well, I will never bend to such primitive beliefs!
20:34 September 27, 2012 by Swedish Cat
Great! We are not even aloud to sing our national anthem in public but this is OK?
22:04 September 27, 2012 by krattan
Rationally I must conclude that if churches are allowed to make noise, so are mosques. However in general I don't like any kind of pollution of public spaces so the resolution is of course to abolish churches making their noise public too. Replace all church bells with indoor loud speakers would to the trick. And the same for mosques.
22:44 September 27, 2012 by Children Of Adam
You may wonder what does it mean " call to prayer"?

Call to prayer now in the Church =) with english subtitle.

watch this --->

22:57 September 27, 2012 by Swedish Cat
@ Krattan

As I am not religious I would not mind the churches quiet on sundays either however call me crazy, rasist or whatever but after all we are afterall in Sweden and churches belongs to our history, I lived in Saudi Arabia for a couple of years and it is not a quiet little noice those Moskes are making 5 times every day starting early morning ay first sunrise. Remebering being really annoyed even though I was just 5 years old telling my dad if that Acbar could shut up allready. If non Muslims will have to listen to "There is no God but Allah loud every day it is not very respectful. You would never treat Muslims that way or we would have some flags or embassys burning.
23:26 September 27, 2012 by Fernandis
I was talking to a Muslim friend and he said "Sweden indeed is an ideal islamic welfare state model" and he told me that this is acknowledged in swedish/Norwegian constitution that our principles of equality are inspired by Omar-laws ( Omar was muslim, who created 1st ever welfare-state concept).....I DON'T KNOW TO WHAT EXTENT THIS IS TRUE.
23:32 September 27, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
If the government can slap a variety of disgusting photos on cigarette packages, then they should also place printed photos of pregnant teenage mothers or women who cannot read or write as warnings on the pamphlets of religions that glorify the behaviours of shunning birth control or education for women.

Likewise if the one or 5 calls to prayer are allowed, then Sweden should fund a guy with a megaphone who shouts out a warning before each call to prayer, that prolonged exposure to the teachings of this religious institution might be harmful to some basic human rights and freedoms according to currently accepted secular values.

Always baffling how secular values come screeching to a halt as soon as someone meakly bleets the word 'religion'. Imagine the legal action that would occur if a CEO at a Swedish company board meeting got up and said to the female boards members, 'You, You, and You. I want you either continuously PREGNANT or continuously ABSTAINING from sex, IS THAT CLEAR?', or: 'I want to see the three of you living in black sacks for the REST OF YOUR DAYS. IS THAT CLEAR?'.

A society that pretends to champion human rights is invariably deluded into thinking that it must enshrine freedom of religion, even when some of these religions trample on the freedoms of choice or appearance or association or right to choose a marriage partner. Truly schizophrenic. Freedom of religion, like freedom of speech, should not be absolute, because if absolute then each is allowed to promote hatred or oppression within their own congregations or against outside groups.

I am against a call to prayer or the distribution of pamphlets or any form of advertising for ANY religion that seeks to oppress human rights. (Islam, Roman Catholicism, ultra orthodox Judaism). Not intolerance, just a calling upon these religions to modernize, or conversely for the government to keep them as quiet and invisible as possible.
23:48 September 27, 2012 by donutwallah
bad news indeed! one-way respect will lead to sorrow...
23:56 September 27, 2012 by Swedish Cat
@ Reason abd Realism

Well written and could not help laughing whilst nodding in agreement. I fully agree!
00:16 September 28, 2012 by Grokh
This is sickening. no one likes when churches ring their FKNG bells. and now this.

its sickening how islamic countries have mosques spamming stuff all over as if the country is a brainwashed religious state out of some weird movie.. oh wait... it is.

Those who defend this kind of stuff know its not directed towards islam its directed towards any religion that makes noise in public.

Lets see what will happen if someone gets a megafone and sit in front of a mosque criticizing them *turns tv on sees riots in all islamic nations* oh yeah that.
00:48 September 28, 2012 by Swedish Cat
I am moving to Norway as looks like they still have some pride. The only crazy s writing on the Norwegian Local are Swedish fundamentalist. Offcourse they all live here... watch?v=AX3U-BGDedc&feature=rellist&playnext=1&list=PL07D01994A23AFE9D
01:15 September 28, 2012 by liban91
Thats great we have the right to practice our religion.
01:17 September 28, 2012 by Swedish Cat
01:31 September 28, 2012 by Svensksmith
As a Fartusian, our call to prayer happens three times a day, about a half hour after each meal. At that time, our head prophet, Poohamad, lowers himself upon a giant whoopee cushion. When we hear that joyous sound, all Fartusians are commanded to prostate themselves and pull one another's fingers. Our joy is then spread throughout the town.

It is a very moving experience.
04:32 September 28, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Sure is time for some "holy envy" five times a day, especially when the minaret looks like Shahab 3
09:07 September 28, 2012 by RobinHood
This is a fantastic step forward for the cause of religious diversity.

I'm sure celebratory church bells will be ringing out in cities as far away as Riyadh, Tehran, Kabul, Islamabad and other places where religious tolerance is so widely respected.
09:50 September 28, 2012 by wolverine2k
#1 You are correct. This is how it starts. Lets hope SD gets elected next time and saves Sweden.
10:09 September 28, 2012 by sbf325
As per usual, the comments are more illuminating than the article itself. Some really good points here. What modern, civilised human would not have a problem with "There is no God but Allah"? I too am offended by this statement. Envision the hysterical reaction if Swedish churches started broadcasting, via loudspeaker five times a day, "Jesus is the son of God, the One and Only"?? I am ashamed that the human race has yet to grow out of our prehistoric need for Sky Daddies. But I am also ashamed that a great country like Sweden, which has SO much to proud of, is guilty of such hypocrisy regarding its tolerance of such blatant intolerance.
10:12 September 28, 2012 by abidhasnain

I dont know about other places ...but I have been hearing church bell in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi since my childhood and its the same way even today. I have even studied for some time in a Christan missionary school (some of my best memories)..side by side with my Christian friends. When we used to have our Islamic studies lectures they used to go for their Own religious studies.

The tolerance that you see is portrayal by the MEDIA. You can take my word that this is not the case with the masses in my country.

To some extent the media is correct as well and we all miss the good old days. We have been plagued by people who are misleading and are intolerant.
10:46 September 28, 2012 by Swedish Cat
Well how about the article posted today on the Local were the Jews once again has been attacked in Malmö. How about their right to have a religion? No apparently there is only one tolerated religion in this country so just top it up with shouting THERE IS NO OTHER GOD as Sweden has already tolerated this. Swedish Democrats are not the way to go as they have other points on their agenda that is not good for Sweden and its growth. They are playing on the fact right now that we are desperate in this situation we are in for good reasons. We must give the political party strengths to address issues like this. Every time Reinfeldt has even tried to address something he gets beaten down by a storm of Swedes, Social democrats etc and he has to apologize. Stand behind him instead.
14:31 September 28, 2012 by Programmeny
This is what happens when you install loudspeakers for mosques in a country that doesn't want them: /watch?v=KqPePW0miZ0
15:18 September 28, 2012 by Swedish Cat
I read about this and when they built the Mosque the criteria was that they were not aloud to have a minority as well as prayer calls. After a while they asked if they could have a minority as they would feel like they had a real Mosque,, the ban on prayer calls were sill standing. Now prayer calls are being asked and they have gotten that granted...what is next. Nothing stops Mosques now to have prayer calls all over Sweden. The ones defending this is that Fittjas (Bokyrkas) main population are Muslims as well as church bells are also annoying. First of all Fittja is the habitat of many groups and even the ones that came to Sweden seeking a heaven away from Muslims prosecuting them in their countries, Second of all the Mosque I am thinking of is outside by the water far away.. If these prayer calls are to be heard all the way to Fittja, then it will be heard to Ekerö, Stockholms län etc. Were they asked or are they all to Racist to have an opinion? Saying that church bells are annoying...yes that might be true however it does not make it less annoying to top it up with extra noise, Church bells are only a sound and not a priest shouting out this mumbo jumbo.
17:57 September 28, 2012 by Andre Danson
I cannot believe that swedes are so naive and are being duped to permit those moaning from muslim Mosque. Wake up Sweden !

They are calling that Allah is the ONLY religion and therefore all of you unbelievers should be eliminated. Yes,thats what they are doing in those Arab countries. They do burn Christian Churches with peoples inside ! Show me the permit just to build a Christian Church in any of Moslem countries. This is not allowed.

You permitted muslims to build Mosques like the rest of" politically correct " Europe and now they want more. Cars are being burned in France and Germany becouse they want more Mosques !.Remember "they want" even thou they came to those countries as guest and stayed looking for better life. Same in Sweden ,muslims want more and more. When they stop burning Christan Churches and stop bombing Synagoges I am willing to

accept their rights to place of pray. Why not .? But let them respect swedish customs,swedish religion and simply beautiful Sweden as it used to be.

I loved living in Sweden and learning about swedish customs, thats why we want to live in Sweden St.Lucia,Christmas and so on.

Giving permit for muslim calls for prayer shows that you are afraid

to say of what you really think. They will start once a week and soon it will be 5 times daily telling you that your God is no good.!

I do not live in Sweden any more but I miss Sweden I remember.

Swedes have courage to say NO to muslims black mail. !!!
18:58 September 28, 2012 by intrepidfox
This will be a frequent scene in Sweden soon

22:27 September 28, 2012 by Richard Head
If Muslims make up roughly 5% of the population in Sweden and they are demanding something like this, can you imagine the things they will be demanding at 10%? 15? Get a freaking clue, Sweden.
22:50 September 28, 2012 by intrepidfox

Do i have to say anymore
09:32 September 29, 2012 by bryan73
I keep hoping that somewhere, some country in the world calls religious bullshit for what it is: bullshit. Some country that says there is no place for such nonsense, and now it is time to move forward and not be weighed down by bronze-age superstitions. No special recognition at all for churches or mosques or any other places of mind control. It's time to for the enlightenment to make a big leap forward by recognizing that there is no other god than science and reason. Too bad this country will not be Sweden as it now moving in reverse.
11:44 September 29, 2012 by rise
There is one party that actually want to save Sweden:

14:08 September 30, 2012 by Jamal77
I think the ultimate beneficiary of this strange decision will be the rapidly growing racist and anti immigrant groups in Sweden, it will perfectly serve their propaganda campaign, the problem is that Muslim extremists and wahabbits in particular are not enlightened enough to understand the consequences of such behavior, imagine when a native Swedish person who lives in small town and have very little or no understanding of Islam other than what he or she observes through out his daily life in Sweden which is not clearly a very bright image, all of sudden wakes up on laud voice calling for prayer five times a day,if i was in such position i would immediately vote for a racist organization as a unconscious defensive measure....Muslims in Sweden should wake up and not give extremist wahabis any chance to take over their mosques other wise the consequences will be very bad for all...!!... You don't need to be too smart to figure out the consequences of such action.
17:04 September 30, 2012 by Cheshire Cat Grin
Sweden should be for Swedes. As an American, I am curious as to how many Swedes utilize the Mantra (see below) in their struggle for survival as a people.


Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to "assimilate," i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

How long would it take anyone to realize I'm not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn't object to this?

But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.
16:13 October 2, 2012 by motti
Apart from Turkeye, and Iran, both of which still have tiny Jewish communities, after the vast majority of Jewish people fled or were ethnically cleansed from most Islamic states.

It is jolly decent of Sweden to ensure that the Mosque may call to prayer through loudspeakers 5 times a day the foloowers of Allah and Muhammed. How very different for most Islamic countries which dod not allow churches to be open, or bells to ring and indeed, for many of the followers of God and Jesus to be still treated as 2nd class citizens, as indeed the jews were, along with Hindus, Sikhs, and Druse etc.

Inclusion should be transparent in Islamic lands too, if they expect and duly receive inclusion in the west. Sadly, itis just a case of the gathering Islamic conquest of europe galloping along at breakneck speed. What and/or who will stop it???
14:02 October 5, 2012 by Peter Helenius
10:46 September 28, 2012 by Swedish Cat

We must give the political party strengths to address issues like this.

Dream on boy, every main political party is taken hostage by the Gutmenschen ideology. They wont solve anything, because they have to 1) admit that they made mistakes (a politician never does) and 2) they should refrain from this Gutmenschen ideology, make the thoughts as ´not kosjer´ (and this will aslo never happen). The only thing which can prevent us in the future from civil war and ongoing plundering by the immigrant scum are parties like the Sverige Democrats.

In no European country it has, until now, worked as you wish. Why would it work now, while the Swedes are the most subjugated to this Gutmenschen ideology and in general 10 years backwards on these kind of issues compared to the rest of Europe?

Really wishful thinking. If you want to preserve Sweden, its culture and richness instead of immigrant colonialism, poverty and general dumbness, you can only act by tackling the middle parties. Democracy in a multicultural society with Africans and Islamics will nor end up into a plunderocracy; nothing else.

So be revolutionary if you want your (grand)children to have a prosperous swedish future. Else they will be the first Europeans living in a nasty 3rd world country. Thats how the damaging state of Sweden and their disgusting Gutmenschen policy is at the moment. Withiin 15 years Swedens future will be decided. If in these years they go on taking more 3rd world and Islamic foreigners in. it will be too late for you. Pity the fool, I would say.
18:30 October 5, 2012 by heph
What bunch of hypocrites! Islamic countries are criticized for not allowing chiming church bells but you don't want to allow islamic call for prayer in Sweden. How are people, who are criticizing this decision, any different from those religious zealots in islamic countries.

Last time I checked, Sweden was a secular country, not a christian country. So if Church bells are allowed then why should prayer call be not allowed?
10:52 October 8, 2012 by Alexey-nsk
är början till slutet. Sökväg till medeltiden.
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Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
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Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
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One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
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Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
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