The Forum for Interfaith Dialogue

 The Forum for Interfaith Dialogue, promoting dialogue between religious and life-stance organizations concerned with issues of their belief and that of their collaborative partners is active in Iceland.

Reykjavik, November 24th 2006.

 

Object

The object of the Forum is to promote tolerance and respect between persons belonging to different religions and religious organizations with diverse outlooks on life as well as to protect religious freedom and other human rights. Such a goal will not be reached by simply agreeing with whatever is said or letting anything and everything pass by without comment or criticism but rather by listening to the views of others and putting oneself in their shoes, respecting the autonomous rights of individuals and the rights of religious organizations to self-determination.

The Forum provides leaders and representatives of religious organizations and life-stance organizations concerned with issues of belief the opportunity to get to know each other. It seeks to encourage objective relations between them, ease the dissemination of information, facilitate discussion on issues of common interest, such as access to religious services in the public sphere and to aid them in addressing problems that may arise such as persecution, civil disturbance, war, national disaster and accidents. The Forum thereby has the capacity to promote increased tolerance and respect amongst the general population by urging for professional education on religions and religious matters, emphasizing the social value of faith, correcting obvious misrepresentations, working against prejudice, negative discrimination and so on.

Membership

All religious organizations that are registered with the Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs and that have thus formed a connection with the State have the right to membership in the Forum. Unregistered religious organizations and life-stance organizations that express a belief or assert a standpoint on issues of belief without affiliating themselves with a religion may apply for membership in the Forum. Applications are subject to the consent of all those who have already obtained membership. The Forum may work in collaboration with independent organizations, committees and institutions.

Written applications for membership shall be brought to the Forum’s public relations administrator, who will then present it at a meeting called within three months and seek the opinion of all other member organizations. Withdrawal from the Forum must similarly be made in writing. Organizations that are members of the Forum may place qualifications on their participation.

Organization

Each member organization designates one representative with voting rights, who may be accompanied by two others permitted to take part in meetings unless other arrangements are made. Representatives do not however have the authority to bind the religious organizations for which they speak. Should a representative not be a leader or in the administration of the organization in question, he or she must have written authority from them to act in this role. Collaborative partners such as independent organizations, committees, institutions and government ministries that have been accepted into the Forum have the right to nominate observers, who have the right to propose motions but not to vote.

A minimum of two meetings shall be held per year. The Forum appoints a public relations administrator and a secretary for a one-year term at the first meeting of every year, which shall be called a minimum of two weeks in advance. The public relations administrator is responsible for accepting applications for membership, calling meetings, putting together a proposal for an agenda, contacting those unable to attend meetings in connection with decision making and sending out announcements. The secretary takes the minutes at meetings, which must then be sent out within half a month from the meeting date. Neither the public relations administrator nor the secretary need to be appointed from among the ranks of member representatives, but  only if they are representatives of religious or life-stance organizations in their own right do they have the power to vote.

Reservations

The Forum will only take initiative on issues where there is accord between member organizations. It is not permissible to publicize statements in the name of the Forum that have not been confirmed by all member organizations.

The unique position of member organizations in matters of teachings and practices must be respected. The Forum’s object is not to unify existing religious groups, rather it’s to encourage objective relations, tolerance and respect between them.

In the same way, the object of the Forum is not to see all member organizations hold joint worship services together. Individual member organizations may on the other hand choose to do so when the occasion arises and circumstances permit, for example in connection with the marriage of persons belonging to different religious groups, memorial services or crises such as national disasters and accidents. Although the Forum may serve to facilitate relations between different religious groups and life-stance organizations concerned with issues of belief, any and all joint worship services may be held in the name of those member organizations participating, but not that of the Forum itself.

The Forum cannot obligate member organizations in any way. Nor can it hold member organizations accountable in the Forum for the words or deeds of individual members within them.

It is not possible to change the text of this policy statement except with the consent of a qualified majority of member organizations.

Member organizations and collaborative partners

The following religious and life-stance organizations concerned with issues of belief are members of the Forum:

 

 

The Evangelical Lutheran National Church

 

The Roman Catholic Church
The Free Church of Reykjavik

 

The Cross
The Seventh-day Adventists in Iceland

 

The Buddhist Society in Iceland
The Free Church The Way

 

The Baha‘is
The Muslim Society of Iceland

 

The Asa Faith Society
FFWPU –  Family Federation for World Peace and Unification

 

The Russian Orthadox Church in Reykjavik
The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints

 

Soka Gakkai in Iceland

 

Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland

 

 

 The following collaborative partners have the right to nominate observers with the right to propose motions:

 

 Intercultural Center

 

Forum for Religious Studies of The School of Humanities, University of Iceland