Press Conference – ICC 7 feb 2013

9 februari 2013

JimmyBaker_HelenaRojas_ICC2013_pressconferenceBotkyrka är den enda kommunen i Sverige som är medlem i Europarådets Intercultural Cities programme (ICC). 6-8 februari 2013 genomfördes en konferens – Intercultural Cities Milestone Event – i Dublin, Irland.

Botkyrka kommuns delegation bestod av Jens Sjöström (S), Jimmy Baker (M), Shafqat Katana (S) och Helena Rojas (utvecklingschef i default_en-map2011-1kommunen). Under konferensen deltog vi i en rad seminarier, workshops, mm och vi ansvarade också för genomförandet av några av dem, däribland ett seminarium där vi höll en presskonferens kring frågan om böneutrop som genomfördes av mig och Helena Rojas. Här nedan kan du läsa mitt inledande anförande:

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Good day and thank you for having us.

My name is Jimmy Baker and I am the 2nd deputy mayor and also the opposition leader in the municipality of Botkyrka, Sweden.

On february 4th, the municipality board concluded in a decision, that – public call to prayer from mosques is not in conflict with municipality regulations – nor Swedish law.

One year ago we received a request from citizens, members of one of the mosques in Botkyrka – an application in which the mosque would like to make public calls for prayer.

The applicants compared it with church bell ringing, which is common in Sweden, in spite of the fact that Sweden is one of the most, or even the most, secular country in the world.

Immediately we, both civil servants and politicians, realized that this request would start a debate – not just in Botkyrka, but on a national level.

How we handle this issue will affect the whole country.

We decided that it was vital to involve a broad spectrum of political parties and that we come to a common conclusion.

Parallel to political talks, the municipality head office started to work, checking applicable legislation as well as organizing dialogues with citizens.

However, not all political parties are part of the talks. In Botkyrka we also have Sverigedemokraterna – a political party with a hostile attitude towards migrants, especially to muslims.

Luckily, in Botkyrka and in Sweden, we have not the same experience with violent behavior towards muslims that is common in other countries. This is due to the fact that Botkyrka, for many years, actively has worked with inclusion, equality and human rights.

In Botkyrka, we have decided that we want a future society were we live together – not just side by side.

Thank you for your time.

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