Government in proactive dialogue with faith communities
In light of the recent developments, Minister for Social Affairs and Public Health Jakob Forssmed and Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström invited representatives of faith communities to a discussion to listen to their views and thoughts on recent events.
Representatives of 14 different communities took part in yesterday’s meeting.
“It was a good meeting with an honest and cordial dialogue. During the meeting, we presented the measures that the Government has taken to address the elevated security risks and guarantee security in our society. We have made it clear that the Government strongly rejects the provocations involving the burning of copies of holy scriptures. At the same time, we stress that the freedom of expression is also central to the freedom of religion,” says Mr Forssmed.
“Recent events have created a very serious situation for Sweden, both at home and abroad. The Government is working actively to address this issue, and is in regular dialogue with the countries and international organisations that have been affected by recent events,” says Mr Billström.
The Government maintains an ongoing dialogue with faith communities in Sweden, and the societal crises in recent years have clearly shown that faith communities are key actors in addressing several of today’s challenges. Faith communities have been key in efforts to deal with issues such as the pandemic and the burning of copies of holy scriptures. These communities will continue to be important actors in addressing future challenges.
It is therefore important that faith communities are involved in the efforts of municipalities, regions and government agencies to a greater extent than they currently are, including in crisis preparedness situations.
In light of this, the Government intends to task the Swedish Commission for Support to Faith Communities with sharing knowledge about faith communities and efforts to strengthen collaboration between public actors and faith communities. In this way, public actors can better harness the knowledge and experience of faith communities and their contacts with their target groups, whereby such collaboration can contribute to every individual being able to enjoy their human rights.
“Faith communities play an important role in society today, and although collaboration is often good, there is an opportunity to further it,” says Mr Forssmed.
The Government has also taken measures to strengthen security for faith communities. In June 2023, the Swedish Agency for Support to Faith Communities was tasked with implementing measures to strengthen faith communities’ security.