The Words of the Karlsson Family
The Swedish Religious Peace Council
February 24, 2006
We created an inter-religious peace council with the aim to be able to have influence in the Swedish society. Thus, we have to look at the needs in the society and find areas where we can contribute. It helps to define a few central areas. It is good to involve people from different areas, such as religious, academic, media etc. Important to find key individuals with strong desire to be active in respective areas.
1/ An inte-religious Forum existed in Sweden already in the 1970s.
2/ Inspiration for a new beginning came from the IIFWP conference held in August 2003.
3/ The Swedish Religious Peace Council was officially inaugurated on January 31, 2004.
Long term: to become an influential player in the Swedish society.
Short term: to hold conferences and build a foundation with people from many different faith groups.
What are the needs in Sweden today?
1/ Sweden has become a multi-religious and multicultural society during the last 30 years.
2/ Sweden is considered the most secularized society in the world.
3/ Ignorance about religion in general is widespread.
4/ Family breakdown is rampant.
What can our religious peace council do?
First, we have a set of by-laws which define the character of our organization and which areas we want to be involved in. Simply speaking we decided to focus on a few areas:
1/ To be a forum for inter-religous dialogue, and communication between faith groups and the society.
2/ To spread correct (objective) information about religion.
3/ To uphold spiritual values in the society.
4/ To defend the value of the family as a cornerstone of a healthy society.
Initially we have aimed for four committees:
The inter-religious committee.
The media committee.
The family committee.
The human rights committee.
What we have done so far:
We have held three one-day conferences.
We have held smaller meetings on weekdays.
We have created a home page www.religionsfred.nu that also includes a small section in English.
We have acted in matters of concern, such as the FECRIS case. At that time we wrote a letter to express the opinion of our Peace council. We have acted in a similar way in cases in Sweden.
Who is in the peace council?
On our board we have people mainly from Christian and Muslim background. But in our conferences we have had participants from Buddhist and Sikh as well as many from smaller faith groups.
We still need to become broader and expand our outreach.
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