Swedish Court Upholds Religious Freedom in Chabad Case

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.