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Sweden Sees Spike in Targeting Holy Books

© Sputnik / Maksim Bogodvid / Go to the mediabankQuran
Quran - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.08.2023
A new instance of desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden has prompted ire from the international Muslim community, with Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah stressing that blasphemers have offended two billion Muslims across the world.
On July 31, two Iraqi nationals, Salwan Momika and Salwan Najem, set copies of the Holy Quran alight outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm after receiving permission from the police to conduct the desecration act.
This is not the first time Momika has burned the Islamic holy book in Stockholm. Earlier, on June 28, the 37-year-old Iraqi refugee burned pages of a Quran outside the Stockholm Mosque during the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival. On July 20, he desecrated the Quran again. The incidents triggered anger among Muslims across the world.
On August 1, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah movement, condemned the continued desecration of religious symbols and Islamic sanctities in Sweden in a televised speech. Without naming the culprit, Nasrallah dubbed him "a Mossad spy," but did not provide evidence of his connection to Israel or the national intelligence agency of Jewish state officially known as the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations.
However, the Quran is not the only holy book targeted by activists in Sweden. Last month, Sweden saw two threats to desecrate the Torah – the first five books of the Hebrew Bible – as well as the Christian Bible outside Israel's Embassy in Stockholm.
© Sputnik / Serget Pyatakov / Go to the mediabankTorah, the Holy Book in Judaism
Torah, the Holy Book in Judaism - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.08.2023
Torah, the Holy Book in Judaism
Having received a permission from the police to burn the holy books, the man, who said he was a Muslim, instead held a one-person demonstration on July 15. He specified that he never intended to burn holy scriptures. Later in the month, a Swedish woman, who also received permission from authorities to burn the Torah outside the Israeli Embassy in the Swedish capital, aborted the desecration act on July 28. She burned a blank piece of paper, claiming that it was a "symbol of the Swedish system that is empty of content."
Muslim state leaders as well as the Israeli authorities have repeatedly expressed protests over Sweden's inability to prevent the defiling of holy books. There is no law in Sweden prohibiting the burning or desecration of holy scriptures in the country. Sweden also does not have any blasphemy laws. As a result, the provocations, perceived by religious communities as a violation of their beliefs, remain unpunished.
A temporary fence erected between tracks is seen at the train station to prevent illegal migrants to enter Sweden at Copenhagen International Airport in Kastrup, Wednesday, Dec 23, 2015 - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.08.2023
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On July 31, Erik Ullenhag, the ambassador of Sweden to the State of Israel, released an op-ed stressing that "the Swedish Government finds it highly regrettable that extremists and provocateurs are seeking to sow division between different groups within our society."
"The desecration of the Torah, the Quran, or any other holy scripture, is an offensive and disrespectful act, and a clear provocation," Ullenhag wrote. "Expressions of antisemitism, racism, xenophobia, and related intolerance have no place in Sweden or in Europe."
He went on by saying that in Sweden, there is a constitutional right to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and freedom to demonstrate. Per the diplomat, the Swedish police did not give permission specifically for burning the holy books, but simply to "hold a public gathering."
"Criticizing a religion or religious symbols is not punishable in Sweden; this falls under freedom of expression which is protected under the constitution. The same applies to national symbols, such as the Swedish flag," the diplomat insisted.
Meanwhile, in Denmark anti-Islam protesters also burned the Quran outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Copenhagen earlier this week. The Nordic countries continue to deplore the provocative acts, but do nothing to stop them, citing European "values" and "freedoms" enshrined in their constitutions. It's unclear how this correlates with the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to hold religious or other beliefs.
Quran - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.07.2023
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