credit by: (AFP)
STOCKHOLM: Swedish police say they have given permission for a protest in which a Qur’an will be burned in front of Stockholm’s main mosque on Wednesday, the first day of the Muslim Eid Al-Adha holiday, which lasts for three days.
In a written decision, the police said that the security risks of the burning “were not of a nature that could justify, under current laws, a decision to reject the request.”
Two weeks earlier, a Swedish appeals court had overturned the police’s decision to deny permits for two rallies in Stockholm that were going to include burnings of the Qur’an.
Police had said that they were worried about security at the time because someone had burned the Muslim holy book outside of Turkey’s embassy in January, which led to weeks of protests and calls to boycott Swedish goods. It also slowed down Sweden’s bid to join NATO.
Turkiye has blocked the bid because it thinks Stockholm isn’t doing enough to stop Kurdish groups it considers “terrorists.” It was especially upset that police had let the January protest happen.
Then, in February, police turned down two more requests to burn the Qur’an at protests, one from a private person and one from an organization, outside the Turkish and Iraqi embassies in Stockholm.
The appeals court said in mid-June that the police were wrong to ban those, because “the order and security problems” they cited did not have “a sufficiently clear connection to the planned event or its immediate vicinity.”
The same private person who had his previous request denied asked for the Wednesday protest.
“I want to protest in front of the big mosque in Stockholm and say what I think about the Qur’an. I will tear up the Qur’an and burn it,” Salwan Momika, who is 37 years old, wrote in his application, which AFP got a copy of.
Wednesday, police said they had called in extra help from all over the country to keep order.
A reporter for AFP said that by early Wednesday morning, several police cars were already parked near the mosque.
Swedish politicians have spoken out against the burning of the Qur’an, but they have also supported the right to freedom of speech.