NCSR 2008 - Urban Diversity and Religious Traditions
13-15 August 2008, Åbo Akademi University

Religions in encounter

Sven Halvardson

The importance of studying “Religions in encounter” is steady increasing for scholars and others. As the situation of religious pluralism is quite new in the Nordic countries it should be important to study other parts of the world where this since long is the order. I have had the opportunity to spend some time in Pakistan, which might not be the most enlightening example. However the situation there can spread some light on the problems of religions in encounter generally and inspire to reflect on and study what is applicable and what is different here.
The Pakistani case is interesting because it was declared as a state based on religion. But it is not very clear what was meant by an Islamic state by the “grounding fathers” of Pakistan and what were the role and the space for religious minorities. Contribution to the social capital is certainly a part of how the Christian minority defines its mission.
In my paper I will discuss some reasons behind the problematic situations for religious minorities in Pakistan and tentatively move some of the questions involved to the Swedish context, where collecting of data will take place from Fall, 2008.