02:34 GMT +325 May 2018
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    Mosque in Oslo, Norway

    Norwegian Party Ready to Skip 'Stupid' Human Rights, Ban Loud Minaret Calls

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    While a similar ban has been rejected before over human rights concerns, a Progress Party immigration spokesman has said he valued people's peace and quiet more than violating human rights provisions he referred to as "stupid."

    Norway's anti-immigration Progress Party, which is part of the ruling "blue" coalition alongside the Conservatives, is set to vote on banning the Islamic call to prayer in Norway during its national conference this coming weekend, the Vårt Land newspaper reported.

    The proposal is aimed at stopping alleged plans by some mosques in Norway to begin issuing calls to worship through loudspeakers, as is the case in neighboring Sweden.

    "In several places across the country regulations have now been established, under which mosques have permission to issue the call to prayer over loudspeakers," the Progress Party sub-unit in Buskerud County, west of Oslo, said, while proposing the ban.

    READ MORE: Norwegian University Bets on Islamic Theology for Second-Largest Religion's Sake

    According to the Progress Party, a "great many" Norwegians perceive this practice as "annoying and inappropriate."

    "In Norway, we do have freedom of religion, which should also include the right not to be exposed to public calls to prayer," the Progress Party stated.

    This idea of banning Islamic prayer calls is not a novelty for the Progress Party, as its former leader Carl Hagen, who recently announced his departure from politics, proposed a similar prohibitive policy back in 2000.

    However, the Justice Minister concluded that such a ban would contradict Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights guaranteeing the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

    READ MORE: Mixed Reactions as Norway Gets First 'Hospital Imam' Due to 'Popular Demand'

    The Progress immigration spokesman Jon Helgheim admitted to Vårt Land that the compatibility of the ban with the convention was a question of minor importance.

    "I don't give a damn what human rights provisions have to say on this matter," Helgheim said. "What I do care about is people enjoying peace and quiet, and this means not being disturbed by prayer calls. If there are conflicting provisions in the Human Rights Convention, I simply don't care, because it's utterly stupid," he added.

    Helgheim said he wants to see the ban in place even if no loudspeaker prayer calls are practiced in Norway as of today.

    "We ought to make it clear once and for all. Prayer calls are something most people do not want," Helgheim said, adding that they meant "great distress and annoyance" for the neighbors affected.

    READ MORE: 'Let the West Burn': Norway Reveals Radicalization in 'Quran Schools' Abroad

    The Progress Party is currently Norway's third-largest party with 15.3 percent of the vote. It first entered the Norwegian parliament in 2013 and has remained part of the "blue" coalition ever since.

    Norway's Muslim community is mostly represented by Somalis, Iraqis, Syrians and Pakistanis and has been expanding progressively since the 1960s. At present, Muslims are estimated to constitute about 5.7 percent of Norway's population of 5.2 million, their density reaching as much as 10 percent in metropolitan areas.

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    Tags:
    prayer calls, minarets, Islam, religion, Progress Party, Scandinavia, Norway
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