Bishop Eva Brunne wants to remove Christian symbols from the Seamen's Church in Stockholm, and instead create a prayer room for Muslims, SVT reports.
The bishop wants to temporarily make the Seamen's Church available to all, for example by marking the direction of Mecca and remove Christian symbols, which is already done in common prayer rooms at airports and in some hospital chapels.
"Leasing a room to people of other faiths, does not mean that we are not defenders of our own faith. Priests are called to proclaim Christ. We do that every day and in every meeting with people. But that does not mean that we are hostile toward people of other faiths, "writes Bishop Eva Brune at Stockholm municipality's website.
The proposal has triggered protests. Patrik Pettersson, priest of the Oscars parish in Stockholm, thinks that the proposal is remarkable and writes on his blog:
"The church chapel can not reasonably be equated with prayer rooms at airports and hospitals chapel. The Christian church and chapels are not just any public areas."
And the Seamen's Church Director, Kiki Wetterberg, does not agree with the bishop either.
- I have no problem with Muslim or Hindu sailors coming here to pray. But I believe that we are a Christian church, so we should keep the symbols. If I visit a mosque I do not ask them to take down their symbols. It's my choice to go in there, she says to the Christian newspaper Dagen.
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