Prosecutor Gisela Sjövall ruled that the flag does not meet the criteria however, as it expresses hate for everyone and not just one specific group.
“Put simply, one can say that he is expressing contempt for ‘all others,’ and not against a specific ethnic group,” Sjövall told SVT in Sweden.
Sjövall cited a swastika as an example of a violation of the law, as it is meant to represent hatred of Jewish people specifically.
“Up until now, we haven’t come to that point,” the prosecutor told the Hallandsposten newspaper. “That could change in ten years.”
The Syrian man who posted the image claimed that he does not support the terrorist organization, but posted it because it is the “Banner of the Eagle,” and is a flag said to have been flown by the prophet Mohammad.
“He claims that this is not an IS flag, but instead a symbol which has is used within Islam, and which has been used for many hundreds of years before it was misappropriated by IS,” his lawyer Björn Nilsson told the Hallandsposten paper.
Sjövall is standing by her controversial ruling, though she acknowledged that if he had posted the flag with further context her opinion might have been different.
“If there had been anything in the text [posted alongside the flag] with more specific formulations about certain groups, for example homosexuals, the ruling could have been different,” Sjövall explained. “For me, there are no doubts about the decision not to prosecute.”