Sweden considers making Quran burning illegal

Sweden's security forces have reported that such incidents make the country less safe

A girl holds the Quran at a July 2 rally in Basra, Iraq, protesting against the burning of the holy book in Sweden. AP
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The Swedish government is considering whether to make it illegal to set the Quran or other holy books on fire, Justice Minister Gunnar Strommer said on Thursday.

Recent Quran burnings have damaged Sweden's security, with authorities saying such incidents leave the country less safe, Mr Strommer told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

His comments come after Salwan Momika, who is originally from Iraq, stomped on a Quran and set several pages alight last week during Eid Al Adha.

Police had given the 37-year-old a permit for the protest in accordance with free speech laws, but later said the incident was being investigated for incitement of hatred.

Authorities have denied several applications this year for protests that were set to include burning the Quran, citing security concerns.

But courts have since overturned the police decisions, saying such acts are protected by Sweden's freedom of speech laws.

Mr Strommer said on Thursday that the government was analysing the situation and deciding whether the law needed to be changed.

People in Sweden speak out after Quran burning rocks the country – video

People in Sweden speak out after Quran burning rocks the country

People in Sweden speak out after Quran burning rocks the country

“We have to ask ourselves whether the current order is good or whether there is reason to reconsider it,” Mr Strommer said.

He said Sweden had become a “prioritised target” for attacks.

“We can see that the Quran burning last week has generated threats to our internal security,” Mr Strommer said.

The incident has also damaged Sweden's bid to join Nato, with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying his country cannot ratify the application before Quran burnings are stopped.

Updated: July 07, 2023, 5:04 AM