Koran burnt in demonstration outside Stockholm mosque

Two men in Sweden took part in a demonstration that involved burning a Koran outside a mosque in the centre of the capital Stockholm on Wednesday.

Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said at a press conference that the action – taking place on the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha – was permitted, but not appropriate.

Footage from Swedish broadcaster SVT showed a man setting fire to a copy of Islam’s holy scripture behind police cordon tape. Apparently, only one other man took part in the demonstration. Dozens of people gathered behind the cordons, some shouting angry words.

According to the media reports, the public demonstration remained calm. One person who was holding a stone was led away from the site, according to the report.

The Stockholm police had previously given the green light for the small protest. According to the application, seen by the dpa, only two people were expected to attend the demonstration.

Swedish authorities authorized the protest because Swedish courts had ruled that police did not have the right to refuse permission for Koran burnings.

In February, the police refused the request of two organizers to conduct Koran burnings in Stockholm for security reasons.

Islamophobic protests have caused considerable trouble between Sweden and Turkey in recent months.

It is unclear if Wednesday’s Koran burning will cause new problems for Swedish-Turkish relations.

This incident could pose a serious problem for Sweden’s NATO membership application, which they submitted more than a year ago. It is still blocked by Turkey and Hungary. New members must be approved unanimously by all existing NATO members.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly accused Sweden of not taking action against “terrorist organizations,” an apparent reference to mostly Kurdish political groups from Turkey that operate in exile in the country such as the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).

Sweden has recently tightened its terrorism laws and the country’s supreme court approved the first extradition to Turkey of an alleged PKK supporter.

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Categories: Eid al-Adha, Koran Burning, Stockholm mosque, Sweden, Swedish, Turkish