Swedish police have given a man permission to burn a copy of the Quran outside a mosque in Stockholm on Wednesday afternoon.
The organisers plans to burn a Quran outside Stockholm’s main mosque as Muslims gather to mark the start of the three-day Eid al-Adha holiday.
The police said in the written decision to grant the permit 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 Quran burnings.
Police had at the time cited security concerns, following a burning of the Muslim holy book outside Turkey’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. Turkey, 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 offence that police had authorised the January demonstration.
The request for the Wednesday demonstration was made by the same private individual who had his previous request blocked. Only two people were expected to take part in the demonstration, according to the Stockholm police, including the organiser, Salwan Momika, who in a recent newspaper interview described himself as an Iraqi refugee seeking to ban the Koran.
“I want to protest in front of the large mosque in Stockholm, and I want to express my opinion about the Quran… I will tear up the Quran and burn it,” Salwan Momika, 37, wrote in the application, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.
According to Aftonbladet, Momika said that he ‘does not want my demonstration to be negative to Sweden’s request to join NATO’.
Rasmus Paludan (who burned the Koran outside the Turkish embassy earlier this year) was not expected to take part in Wednesday’s demonstration.
Swedish daily DN reports that police in the permit approval warned the applicant to keep up to date with current rules on lighting fires. There is currently a fire ban in all of the Stockholm region due to the heightened risk of wildfires.
Police said on Wednesday they had called in reinforcements from across the country to maintain order. . . there are fears that the burning could spark unrest, with police saying they had called in reinforcements from across the country to maintain order. Journalists said several police cars were already parked near the mosque early on Wednesday.
I’m of the school of thought that says you shouldn’t burn the Koran, but instead should read it to understand what an unedifying book it is, and why Islamics feel justified in the things they do. And unedifying as the Koran is, book-burning does have horrible associations of the Nazis and before them Savonarola.