Swedish court upholds religious freedom in Chabad case

(JNS.org) A Swedish appellate court has upheld the right for Chabad-Lubavitch representatives to homeschool their children in accordance with their religious faith, overturning a previous Swedish law that prohibits religion as a motive for homeschooling.

The case originated with last year when Gothenburg city authorities began fining the Namdar family until they enrolled their children in Swedish public schools.

In a nine-page unanimous verdict, the court ruled that the “government is deciding that the recent change to the law [that religion is not regarded as a valid reason] cannot stand in contravention to Sweden’s international obligation.”

“I’m grateful to G-d for the insight and sensitivity of the judges,” said Rabbi Alexander Namdar.

In a statement responding to the ruling, Chabad-Lubavitch Executive Director Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky also praised the decision: “The court’s decision, confirming that Sweden will uphold the fundamental values of religious freedom and human rights of citizens, could have far-reaching ramifications. It is a manifestation of the responsibility of government to protect and cherish these values so vital to life and society.

According to a Swedish politician behind the original law, the law was created to protect immigrant children who were being denied an education by their family for religious reason. 

Posted on October 22, 2012 .