Sweden permits Quran-burning protest near Stockholm mosque before Bakrid, defying previous police rejections. Court rulings argue that denying such demonstrations infringes upon protected freedom of speech.
The Swedish police have granted permission for a small demonstration to be held outside a mosque in Stockholm. (Photo: Reuters)
Swedish police have authorized a small demonstration outside a Stockholm mosque where participants plan to burn the Quran, potentially complicating Sweden’s NATO membership aspirations.
Previous anti-Quran protest applications were denied by police but overruled by courts citing freedom of speech.
The police permit acknowledged potential foreign policy consequences but deemed the security risks manageable.
The demonstration, expected to involve two participants including organizer Salwan Momika, an Iraqi refugee seeking to ban the Quran, has sparked tensions with Turkey, whose support Sweden seeks for NATO entry.
In late January, Turkey suspended talks with Sweden regarding its NATO application following a Quran burning incident near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm by Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right party Hard Line.
Paludan was not expected to participate in the Wednesday demonstration. The Quran burning was condemned by several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Kuwait.
The Turkish embassy in Stockholm did not provide an immediate comment. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson expressed the country’s desire to join NATO before or during the upcoming summit in Vilnius next month, although it remained uncertain if that timeline could be met.