Norway bans protest over 'security concerns' amid fears of Quran burning

Norwegian media report that a group of anti-Islam protesters planned to destroy a copy of the Quran at the demonstration

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A planned demonstration outside the Turkish embassy in Oslo has been banned amid fears it would become a Quran-burning protest, Norwegian police have said.

Turkey summoned Norway's ambassador on Thursday over the planned protest that was expected to take place on Friday, the Norwegian foreign ministry and a Turkish ministry source said.

Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang first reported that a group of anti-Islam protesters had plans to burn a copy of the Quran at the demonstration.

Norwegian police said on Thursday that they have decided, for security reasons, to ban the planned demonstration outside the embassy.

“The police emphasise that burning the Quran is a legal political statement in Norway, but this event can't go ahead due to security concerns,” Oslo Police Inspector Martin Strand said.

Ankara strongly condemned the plans, which it said were a “provocative act”, the source from the Turkish foreign ministry said. The source added that the ministry had asked for the demonstration to be called off.

Women in Pakistan hold copies of the Quran during a protest to denounce the demonstrations in Europe. AP

Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed in a statement that Turkey had raised the planned demonstration in a meeting.

“Our ambassador referred to the constitutional right to freedom of expression in Norway, and added that the Norwegian government neither supports nor is involved with the planned demonstration,” ministry representative Tuva Bogsnaes said.

Generally, Norwegian police can only ban a demonstration if there is a danger to the public.

Similar incidents involving the public destruction of the Quran over the past two weeks have sparked international anger.

In Sweden, right-wing demonstrators burnt a copy of the Quran during a protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm and a live-streamed Quran burning took place outside a mosque in Denmark. In the Netherlands, pages from the Quran were torn out during a protest near The Hague.

Updated: February 02, 2023, 3:27 PM