Sweden permits for ‘Quran burning protest’ outside mosque on Eid

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Sweden permits for ‘Quran burning protest’ outside mosque on Eid

Swedish police said they have granted a permit for a protest where the organizer plans to burn a Qur’an outside Stockholm’s main mosque on Wednesday, the start of the Muslim three-day Eid Al-Adha holiday.

The police said in the written decision that the security risks associated with the burning “were not of a nature that could justify, under current laws, a decision to reject the request.”

The green light came two weeks after a Swedish appeals court rejected the police’s decision to deny permits for two demonstrations in Stockholm which were to include Qur’an burnings.

Police had at the time cited security concerns, following a burning of the Muslim holy book outside Turkiye’s embassy in January which led to weeks of protests, calls for a boycott of Swedish goods and further stalled Sweden’s NATO membership bid.

Turkiye, which has blocked the bid due to what it perceives as Stockholm’s failure to crack down on Kurdish groups it views as “terrorists,” took particular offense that police had authorized the January demonstration.

Police then banned two subsequent requests for protests involving Qur’an burnings — one by a private individual and one by an organization, outside the Turkish and Iraqi embassies in Stockholm in February.

The appeals court in mid-June ruled that police were wrong to ban those, saying “the order and security problems” referenced by the police did not have “a sufficiently clear connection to the planned event or its immediate vicinity.”

The request for the Wednesday demonstration was made by the same private individual who had his previous request blocked.

“I want to protest in front of the large mosque in Stockholm, and I want to express my opinion about the Qur’an… I will tear up the Qur’an and burn it,” Salwan Momika, 37, wrote in the application, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

Police said Wednesday they had called in reinforcements from across the country to maintain order.

An AFP correspondent said several police cars were already parked near the mosque early Wednesday.

Swedish politicians have criticized Qur’an burnings, but have also adamantly defended the right to freedom of expression. (Agencies)

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