Sweden opens hate crime probe after Quran desecrated on Eid

A still from a video of a man allegedly attempting to throw rocks at those desecrating the Quran. (Photo: Nils Adler/Al Jazeera)

The attacker of Iraqi descent who set fire to a copy of the Quran in front of a mosque in Stockholm's Sodermalm neighborhood on the occasion of Eid al Adha has been the subject of a hate speech investigation in Sweden.

The investigation comes after the Nordic nation allowed a man to destroy and burn a copy of the Quran outside of Stockholm's main mosque on Wednesday, an act that might enrage Turkey as Stockholm applies to join NATO.

Hakan Fidan, the foreign minister of Turkey, immediately denounced the incident in a tweet and added that it was unacceptable to permit anti-Islamic demonstrations under the guise of free speech.

"Turning a blind eye to such atrocious acts is to be complicit," Fidan said.

The deputy spokesperson for the US State Department told reporters during a daily briefing that burning religious texts is "disrespectful and hurtful".

"What might be legal is certainly not necessarily appropriate," Vedant Patel said.

A copy of the Quran was torn up by one of the two extremists in front of 200 onlookers, who saw him wipe his shoes with the torn pages before putting bacon inside the book and setting it on fire. The other extremist was speaking into a megaphone.

In opposition to the burning, some people present yelled "Allah is Great" in Arabic. One man was detained by police after attempting to throw a rock.

The security risks posed by the burning, according to Stockholm police's written decision approving a permit for the desecration, "were not of a nature that could justify, under current laws, a decision to reject the request."

Turkish efforts against Quran desecration

Mosque director and Imam Mahmoud Khalfi said that representatives of the mosque were disappointed by the police's decision to allow the desecration on the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha.

"The mosque suggested to the police to at least divert the demonstration to another location, which is possible by law, but they chose not to do so," Khalfi said in a statement.

Khalfi estimates that up to 10,000 people attend the annual Eid celebrations at the mosque in Stockholm.

Similar to earlier instances, the Turkish embassy in Stockholm took the necessary actions and demanded that the Swedish government stop the attack.

'Diseased mentality'

In this regard, the embassy got in touch with the OIC members' embassies in Stockholm, including those of Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Palestine.

The Turkish embassy also voiced its outrage to Henrik Landerholm, the Prime Minister's Chief Foreign and Security Advisor, Ambassador Jan Knutsson, the State Secretary of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Police Chief Anders Thornberg, and Parliament Speaker Andreas Norlen.

The Swedish police had previously prevented attempts to burn the Quran in front of the Turkish and Iraqi embassies in Stockholm, but the court overturned this decision.

Ali Erbas, the director of religious affairs for Turkey, criticized Sweden for its approval.


"I strongly condemn the approval of the despicable act against our holy book, the Quran, in Sweden during Eid al Adha," Erbas wrote in a statement on social media.

"I invite Sweden and Western countries to stop protecting this diseased mentality that is hostile to Muslims, social peace and humanity."

"We expect concrete sanctions against the perpetrators of the incidents to be implemented," he added.

Ankara accuses Stockholm of harboring PKK terrorists in addition to burning Qurans.

Publish : 2023-06-29 07:49:00

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