Swedish police block new Quran burning bid outside Turkish embassy

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Swedish police block new Quran burning bid outside Turkish embassy
File photo of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Swedish police have banned a new burning of the Quran in Stockholm, citing the increased risk of terror attacks.


The decision not to grant a permit follows a January demonstration that angered Turkey, putting Sweden's pending Nato application on hold.

Protests are rarely banned by Swedish police as they are considered as a right under freedom of assembly, but police cited the risk that the protest could provoke terror attacks or attacks against Swedish interests.

The demonstration permit request was made by a small, little-known Swedish association, Apallarkerna, and was aimed at protesting against Nato membership, and like the earlier protest staged by far-right activist Rasmus Paludan would involve the burning of a Quran in front of Turkey's Stockholm embassy.


"The burning of the Quran outside Turkey embassy in January 2023 can be determined to have increased threats against both the Swedish society at large, but also against Sweden, Swedish interests abroad and Swedes abroad," the police decision, read by AFP, said.

"Sweden has become a higher priority target for attacks," it continued.

At the end of January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Sweden, which Ankara already accused of harbouring Kurdish "terrorists", could no longer expect Turkey to ratify its Nato membership bid, as long as burnings of the Quran were allowed.

Turkey and Hungary are the last holdouts to ratify Sweden's Nato membership, after the Scandinavian country broke decades of military non-alignment and applied following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Quran burning, carried out by Paludan behind the protection of a police officers and in front of cameras, spurred anti-Swedish demonstrations in several Muslim countries.

Negotiations with Turkey on Nato accession have been suspended since then.

On Wednesday, the Swedish security service, Säpo, warned of an increased terrorist threat to Sweden and Swedish interests.


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