European Interreligious Forum For Religious Freedom

Attitude of Sweden ”liberal” towards sects

Written the Thursday, March 6th 2014 à 21:32

Article read 780 times

Translation of a swedish article by EIFRF

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.

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