European Interreligious Forum For Religious Freedom


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Translation of a swedish article by EIFRF

Attitude of Sweden ”liberal” towards sects
Source in Swedish

In the report, which will be discussed in the plenary meeting of 10 April, one can observe that it is not certain which damage sects commit against children in the 47 countries which participate in the Council of Europe. Neither is there any uniform definition of the concept, for which Rudy Salles prefers to use the expression “excesses of sects” (something like, extravagance of sects). This could mean, according to a French definition, “the use of oppression or techniques with the purpose of, or leading to,the creation of, the maintenance of or abuse of a psychological or physical disadvantage for an individual, to the damage of the individual or the society”.
Sweden has received a particular place in the report, and is classified, side by side with Denmark, as a country which ” has a very liberal attitude towards religious freedom and, consequently, to the phenomenon of sects”.
Sweden was one of the two countries which Rudy Salles choose to visit as part of his investigative assignment. He wrote that in December 2012 he met with representatives of the parliament, School Inspection, the Youth Council, the Association Save the Individual (FRI) and the Committee for state support of religions.
“Sweden has really a very liberal attitude towards religious freedom, which occasionally can counteract the protection of children”, noted Rudy Salles.
“ At the end of my visit I concluded that the national education system in Sweden, and particularly the system of financing private schools, just like the registration of associations, contains loopholes which could lead to abuses by sect-like movements”. 
Bo Nyberg, chairman of the Christian private school Council (KRF), says that his organization since then has sent written submissions to Rudy Salles with the viewpoint of the Christian leader on the matter.
- One can´t call it proper research what he did in Sweden because he only met with persons who acknowledged the picture he already had, says Bo Nyberg to Världen idag.[The world today]
The report of Ruddy Salles contains even an account of reposes to a questionnaire which was sent out last Spring to all member states.
In the answer which was written up by the Swedish Parliamentary Research Service is the Swedish private school system accounted for, just like the state support to religions. Furthermore is the question answered which deals with the fact whether the Swedish school authorities at any time “have given, or withdrawn, the authorization to a ´new religious movement´ to establish a school”.
“ A particular controversial question was raised about the school, run by the ´Plymouth Brothers´in South Sweden”, writes the Parliamentary Research Service.
”The School Inspection has reviewed the school many times and criticized the lack of objectivity and completeness; for example through a censorship of internet pages by the Swedish parliament and public service radio. The authorization of the school has nevertheless not been withdrawn”.
The Labora school, located in Långaryd and which is not religion-based, was the target of observation by the School Inspection some years ago and is the school as referred to by Sweden in its answer to the Council of Europe. The matter was closed 2012. In connection with the inspections was responsible Roger Niklewsk interviewed by the paper Schoolworld.
- There is no school in Sweden which had more visits, he told the paper.
- My impression is that the Laboraschool is better than many other schools. The atmosphere is relaxed, the school has no discipline problem and has a high target attainment. The education is objective and comprehensive. The students are study-motivated.

Rédigé par EIFRF le Thursday, March 6th 2014 | Comments (0)

Sveriges hållning ”liberal” mot sekter - PACE

I rapporten, som tas upp i plenum den 10 april, konstaterar man att det inte går att säga med säkerhet vilken skada sekter tillfogar barn i de 47 länder som ingår i Europarådet  Inte heller finns det någon enhetlig definition av begreppet, varför Rudy Salles väljer att använda uttrycket ”excesses of sects” (ungefär, överdrifter av sekter). Detta skulle, enligt en fransk definition, innebära ”bruket av påtryckningar eller tekniker som syftar till, eller leder till, att skapa, upprätthålla eller utnyttja ett psykologiskt eller fysiskt underläge för en individ, till skada för individen eller samhället”.
Sverige har fått en särskild plats i rapporten, och klassas, vid sidan av Danmark, som ett land som ”intar en mycket liberal hållning till religionsfrihet och, följaktligen, till fenomenet med sekter”.
Sverige var ett av två länder som Rudy Salles valde att besöka som del av sitt utredningsuppdrag. I december 2012, skriver han, träffade han företrädare för riksdagen, Skolinpektionen, Ungdomsstyrelsen, Föreningen rädda individen (FRI) och Nämnden för statligt stöd till trossamfund.
”Sverige intar verkligen en mycket liberal hållning till religionsfrihet, vilket ibland kan motverka skyddet av barn”, konstaterar Rudy Salles.
”I slutet av mitt besök drog jag slutsatsen att det nationella utbildningssystemet i Sverige, och i synnerhet systemet för att finansiera privatskolor, liksom för att registrera föreningar, innehåller kryphål som skulle kunna leda till övergrepp av sektliknande rörelser”.
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Rédigé par EIFRF le Thursday, March 6th 2014 | Comments (0)

30 civil society and religious leaders and 10 organizations have joined EIFRF in a supportive letter regarding Motion for a Resolution 13333 at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The letter has been sent to every member of the Committee on equality and non-discrimination. Here are the text of the letter and the signatories.

Civil society and religious leaders support a motion for religious freedom at PACE
Members of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination
Parliamentary Assembly
of the Council of Europe
Palais de l’Europe
                                                                                         Europe, the 20th of February 2014
Dear members of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,
We, members of civil society, being aware of the Motion for a Resolution Doc. 13333, The protection of the rights of parents and children belonging to religious minorities”, and being aware that this resolution has been sent to your Committee by the Bureau for “possible follow-up”, would like to express our strong support to this resolution.
Indeed, we think that the appointment of a rapporteur to examine this very important question in the 47 countries of the Council is something that should be done.
Freedom of religion or belief is one of the most fundamental rights of human beings, and in some countries of Europe this right is regularly challenged, minimized or infringed upon without valid justification.
When religious freedom is threatened it is almost always the rights of the minorities that are first to be denied or curtailed. There are many examples of this throughout the Council of Europe’s Member States and it is important that these be taken into account in order that we do not become complacent and we take action to protect those minorities in question. Particular attention should be given to the rights of minorities especially where it concerns the right to educate one’s children in conformity with one’s own religion or belief, this in itself being the subject of European Court of Human Rights decisions.
We are appreciative and supportive of the work of the Council of Europe in protecting and promoting human rights throughout Europe and we believe that you will take this matter seriously. Nevertheless, we wished to express our support for appointing a rapporteur for this motion.
Individuals (in their own names)
Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini, Secretary of Interfaith Alliance – UK
• Dr Alessandro Amicarelli, attorney at law of the BAR of Italy and LAW Society of England and Wales, Doctor of Research in International Order and Human Rights "SAPIENZA" University of Rome – Italy
Dr Iftikhar Ayaz, OBE, Consul General of the Tuvalu Islands in UK, member of the UN Working Group for the Rights of Minorities, Chair of the board of trustees of the All Faith Network – UK
• Thierry Bécourt, President CAPLC – France
Dr Luigi Berzano, full professor of Sociology at the University of Torino, Catholic priest – Italy
• Dr Silvio Calzolari, professor of History of Religions at the ISSR (Higher Institute of Religious Sciences) of Firenze – Italy
• Dr Maria Chiara Giorda, Professor, History of Religions at the University of Torino – Italy
• Jacques Dubreuil, President of the Omnium des Libertés – France
• Dr Juan Ferreiro Gualguera, Professor of Ecclesiastical Law at the State University of Coruna –
• Gurjit Singh, UNITED SIKH Trustee – UK
• Gursev Singh, Dutch Sikh Council, spokesperson – Netherlands
Karan Singh, President of the Sikh Foundation of Switzerland – Switzerland
Rev. Dr Dominique Kounkou, attorney at law, PhD in international public law, Honorary President of the Council of Christian Churches of an African Approach in Europe - France

Rev. Dr William McComish, Dean Emeritus of St. Peter's Cathedral in Geneva, Presbyterian minister, general treasurer of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.
Robin Marsh, Secretary General Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK
• Raffaella di Marzio, psychologist of religion, contributing partner to the Brussels based NGO Human Rights Without Frontiers – Italy
HE Irénéo Namboka, Human Right adviser for UN, former HR Officer of UNHCHR – Switzerland
Jura Nanuk, President of Central-European Religious Freedom Institute – Hungary
• Hans Noot, President of the Gerard Noodt Foundation, member of the board of the ICRLS – Netherlands

Carmine Onnembo, UPF Board of Directors – Germany

• Bertil Persson, National Chancellor of International Association of Educators for World Peace (UNESCO) Scandinavian rep. University of Peace (UNESCO)  Sweden

• Dr. Elke Preußer-Frank, Foundation member of the Federal Association of the Woman Federation for World Peace – Germany
Bashy Quraishy, Secretary General of EMISCO (European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion – Strasbourg) – Denmark
Andrew S. Reed, former secretary to Chairman (EFD group), EU Parliament – Belgium
• Æthelwine Richards, Orthodox Chaplain, York St. John University – UK
Eric Roux, Steering Committee of EIFRF – France
Dr Vjekoslav Saje, Centre for Inter-Religious Dialogue – Bosnia-Herzegovina
John Tamale, Associate at UNCHR – Switzerland
Professor Aldo Natale Terrin, Pontifical Institute of Pastoral Liturgy of Padua, Catholic priest –
• Professor Dr G.P.P. Van Tillo, honorary professor of Sociology of Religion in the University of Amsterdam – Netherlands
• Angelina Vladikova, Chair of BRIDGES - Easter European Forum for Dialogue ­– Bulgaria
Martin Weightman, Director All Faith Network – UK
Graeme Wilson, Public Affairs Director, Church of Scientology – UK
BRIDGES  – Easter European Forum for Dialogue –
CAPLC-European Coordination for Freedom of Conscience – Member of ENAR and participant organization of the EU Fundamental Rights Platform –
CERFI – Central-European Religious Freedom Institute –
EIFRF – European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom –
UNIVERSAL PEACE FEDERATION (UPF) – UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Download the signed on letter:

Rédigé par EIFRF le Tuesday, February 25th 2014 | Comments (0)

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