The reason why Sweden allowed the burning of the Qur’an despite global outrage

The protests have sparked outrage in countries like Iraq, Iran and Lebanon, but the country has no law against blasphemy and protections for freedom of expression.

The recent public desecration of the Koran by a handful of anti-Islam activists in Sweden has sparked an angry response in Muslim countries and raised questions about why such actions were allowed.

In the latest incident, an Iraqi residing in Sweden on Thursday trampled and kicked Islam’s holy book in a two-man march outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm. Swedish police cleared the protest, keeping a group of counter-protesters at a safe distance.

And the same Iraqi man burned a Koran in front of a Stockholm mosque last month in a similar protest approved by the police.

Demonstrations were scheduled for Friday in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon against the recent protests in Sweden. He also ordered the Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Sudanese b The Swedish ambassador was expelled From Iraq and the withdrawal of the Iraqi charge d’affaires from Sweden.

Here is a look at how the Swedish authorities have dealt with protests in their country.

Is desecration of the Koran allowed in Sweden?

There is no law in Sweden that specifically prohibits the burning or desecration of the Qur’an or other religious texts. Like many Western countries, Sweden does not have any blasphemy laws.

Can the Swedish authorities stop such actions?

Many Muslim countries have called on the Swedish government to prevent protesters from burning the Koran. But in Sweden, it is up to the police, not the government, to decide whether to allow demonstrations or public gatherings.

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Freedom of expression is protected by the Swedish constitution. Police need to cite specific reasons for refusing a permit for a public demonstration or assembly, such as risks to public safety.

Stockholm police rejected two applications to protest the burning of the Quran in February, citing assessments from Sweden’s Security Service that such actions could increase the risk of terrorist attacks against Sweden. But the court later overturned those decisions, saying the police needed to cite more concrete threats.

Can burning the Qur’an be considered hate speech?

Sweden’s hate speech law prohibits incitement against groups of people on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Some say burning the Qur’an constitutes incitement against Muslims and should be considered hate speech. Others say that such actions target the Islamic religion, not its practitioners, and that freedom of expression should include criticism of the religion.

Swedish police have sought directions from the justice system, filing preliminary hate crime charges against the man who burned a Koran outside a Stockholm mosque in June and desecrated the Islamic Bible again on Thursday. It is up to prosecutors to decide whether he will be formally charged.

Is the Swedish authorities pertaining to Muslims and the Koran?

Some Muslims in Sweden who were badly affected by the recent burning of the Qur’an wondered if the Swedish police would allow the desecration of holy books of other religions.

Apparently Muslim decided to put that to the test and applied for permission to stage a protest last Saturday outside the Israeli embassy in which he said he planned to burn the Torah and Bible.

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Although Israeli government officials and Jewish groups condemned the planned act and called on the Swedish authorities to stop it, the police granted the man’s request. However, once the man arrived on the scene he reneged on his plans.

How is blasphemy viewed in other parts of the world?

Blasphemy is a crime in many countries. A Pew Research Center analysis found that 79 of the 198 countries and territories studied had laws or policies on the books in 2019 banning blasphemy, defined as “speech or actions deemed disrespectful to God or to people or things considered sacred.” In at least seven countries – Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – he is facing a possible death sentence.

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