Interfaith declaration on freedom of religionFeb 11, 2012 12:30 GMT
Parts of the National Interfaith Council of Sweden, from l–r: Sudhagar Ragupathy (Hindu community), Trudy Fredriksson (chair of the Swedish Buddhist Cooperation Council), Mustafa Setcic (Imam in the Bosnian Islamic community), Archbishop Anders Wejryd, Örjan Widegren (Swedish Bahái Community), Karin Wiborn (Secretary-General of the Christian Council of Sweden) and Jaspal Singh (Sikh community). Photo: Ewa Almqvist/IKON
Archbishop Anders Wejryd, along with other representatives of the National Interfaith Council of Sweden, has signed a declaration on freedom of religion and belief. The declaration was signed in connection with the Interfaith Harmony Festival taking place in Stockholm the same afternoon.
Its basic message is that religions make a valuable contribution to developing and building a society. The Interfaith Council stresses that freedom of religion and belief is a human right stated in both the European Convention on Human Rights and the Constitution of Sweden. It also emphasises that, in a democratic society, the state has a duty to defend this right. At the same time, freedom of religion and belief guarantee the right not to believe or practise any religion, as well as to join or leave a religious community.
“It is both the nature and duty of religions to take responsibility for the common good, and it is important that, together, we respect people’s freedom of choice in relation to religion. This is what we have jointly expressed in this document today,” says Archbishop Anders Wejryd.
See caption for those present at the signature of the document. Other Council representatives who were unable to attend will sign the declaration at a later date. Contact: Trudy Fredriksson, tel. +46 (0)76-205 27 09.
The UN has declared the first week in February World Interfaith Harmony Week.
The National Interfaith Council of Sweden was formed on the initiative of Archbishop Anders Wejryd in May 2010. It functions as a forum for religious leaders and aims to:
... encourage and lay the foundations for interfaith work in Sweden;
... highlight the role of religion in establishing peace and concord in society;
... be a voice in the public debate on ethics and spirituality;
... be a united voice against antisemitism, islamophobia and all other forms of anti-religious sentiment in Sweden;
... to bolster the freedom to uphold religious beliefs and practise religion – individually and in fellowship.