Top Church of Sweden theologian Jakob Wirén has claimed that Christians could view Islam’s Mohammed as a prophet.
Published this year, Wirén’s book To Make Room for the Other? has suggested that Christians could look at Mohammed as a prophet, comparing the 7th-century religious leader to prophets in the Old Testament of the Bible.
While he adds that he does not advocate that Christians should view Mohammed as a Christian prophet, he claimed, according to newspaper Världen Idag: “When it comes to the concept of the prophet, it’s quite open. There are prophets and prophesying even after Jesus’s resurrection, not least in the New Testament.”
Some have criticised the claim, such as Swedish author
Current and former Church of Sweden clergy, however, have praised the book. KG Hammar, the former Archbishop of Uppsala and Primate of the Swedish church, reacted favourably to its comments on Mohammed.
“For us Christians in Sweden, [Wirén’s] radical analyses of antisemitic features in the liturgy and teachings of our churches, as well as his argument about Mohammad as a prophet, are signs of the break from destructive [theological] scholars, which inspires hope and could unleash courage,” Hammar suggested.
Wirén, who also serves as secretary to the current Archbishop of Uppsala, Antje Jackelén, defended his book from critics, writing that his true endeavours were “not captured by sensationalist headlines”.
“In the light of the situation in Europe today, where the public conversation about Islam is often poisoned by extremism and hatred, it becomes even more important to have a well-informed and well-thought-out view,” he insisted.
The comments are not the first time members of the Church of Sweden or its clergy have expressed a fondness for Islam.
In 2015, during the height of the European migrant crisis, Bishop of Stockholm Eva Brunne, the first openly lesbian bishop in the Church of Sweden, advocated taking down Christian symbols and allowing Muslims to use a church for Muslim prayers, for example.
In 2018, Church of Sweden Bishop Fredrik Modeus expressed his support for the public broadcast of the Muslim call to prayer in Växjö, stating: “I welcome the application and look forward to hearing both church bells and [Islamic] prayer announcements in our city.”
A year later, the aforementioned Bishop Brunne admitted: “I say that I sometimes have more in common with Muslims, those I meet, than with the right-wing Christians.”