By Chris King •
Updated: 28 Jan 2023 • 19:01
Image of far-right politician Rasmus Paludan.
Credit: Wikipedia - By Tobias Hellsten / ToHell - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=128027194
Media outlets in Finland and Sweden are convinced that Russia is behind the recent burnings of the holy Muslim Koran in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, and Copenhagen in Denmark. These acts were carried out by the Swedish-Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan.
According to reports from the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and also the Swedish television channel SVT, Paludan organised the event in Stockholm with the help of Swedish journalist Chang Johannes Frick.
Frick worked for the Russian state news channel Ruptly – a subsidiary of the Russian international channel Russia Today – and is considered an alleged asset of the GRU, Moscow’s military intelligence agency.
His objective would have been to destabilise Sweden’s ongoing negotiations to join NATO claimed the news outlets. Paludan said that his actions were designed to motivate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to freeze the negotiations for the Nordic country to join NATO.
On January 21, Paludan burned a copy of the Koran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm under the protection of the Swedish police, an act that Erdogan described as ‘betrayal, vulgarity, scoundrel, and dishonour’.
The Finnish press claims that Chang Johannes Frick was the one who proposed to Paludan that he burn the Koran in full view of everyone. They claimed that he would have guaranteed that any damage he might inflict in front of the embassy would be repelled by several of his security teams.
In addition, Frick was also found to be the one who paid for the plane ticket from Copenhagen to Stockholm. The ideologue of the date and place of this act would have belonged to Frick as well they added since it occurred just a few days before the scheduled visit to Sweden by the Turkish Defence Minister.
Yesterday, Friday 27, the leader of the Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party burned another two copies of the holy book, this time in the Danish capital of Copenhagen. One was destroyed outside a mosque and another in front of the Turkish embassy. Paludan threatened to continue burning the books every Friday until Erdogan approves Sweden’s entry into the Alliance.
Images of the burning of the Koran in Sweden show Paludan is surrounded at all times by the Swedish police and several people dressed in dark clothes, which prevented any type of incident.
The image of Paludan with a flaming Koran in his hand has gone around the world and provoked the public anger of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as other Muslim leaders. He subsequently used a televised speech in prime time to announce the freezing of negotiations for the entry of Sweden into NATO.
“Those who have caused such ignominy in front of our embassy cannot expect any kindness from us in their application to join NATO”, announced Erdogan.
“The Swedish government does not need to talk about rights and freedoms. If you care about them so much, you must first show respect to the Republic of Turkey and the faith of Muslims. If you do not show respect, you will not have any support from us in the matter of NATO”, continued the Turkish president.
In his speech, Erdogan reminded Sweden that if it wants to join NATO it must first prevent any type of political activity that threatens the Muslim faith and its holy books, as was agreed at the NATO meeting held last June in Madrid, as reported by elespanol.com.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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