UPDATE: The EU Voices Its Condemnation Of Koran Burning In Stockholm

Image of a Swedish police vehicle.

Image of a Swedish police vehicle. Credit: AleWi/Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain

UPDATE: Saturday, July 1 at 7:40 pm

The European Union voiced its strong condemnation this Saturday, July 1, over the burning of a Koran in Sweden.

It called for calm and an end to the attacks on the diplomatic headquarters of the Scandinavian country, particularly in Iraq.

Carried out by an Iraqi immigrant in the middle of the Muslim Eid al Adha festival, Brussels acknowledged that it fully backed the Swedish Foreign Ministry in its condemnation of the holy book.

‘This is an act that in no way reflects the opinion of the European Union. The burning of the Koran or any other sacred book is an offensive, disrespectful act and of course, is a provocation’, indicated the EU.

‘These manifestations of racism, xenophobia, or any related act of intolerance have no place in Europe and it is even more deplorable to have occurred in the middle of such an important celebration’, the Brussels External Action Service published, according to europapress.es.


UPDATE: Friday, June 30 at 01:30 am

Iraqi authorities are demanding that the Swedish government extradites an Iraqi immigrant who publicly burned a Muslim holy book in Stockholm on Wednesday 28.

Ahmed al-Sahhaf, a representative of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry stated this Thursday: “The person who offended the holy Quran is an Iraqi citizen. Therefore, we demand that the Swedish authorities hand him over to the Iraqi government so that he can be tried in accordance with Iraqi law”, according to the INA news agency.

Jessica Svardström, the Swedish Ambassador to Baghdad, was summoned to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Thursday where she received a ‘strong protest’ over the incident.

The department stressed that no: ‘legal justifications and considerations of freedom of speech justify insulting religious shrines’.


UPDATE: Thursday, June 29 at 4:35 pm

Following yesterday’s controversial burning of a Koran outside a mosque in Stockholm, dozens of protesters stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad this Thursday, June 29.

The 37-year-old man who carried out the burning of the Muslim holy book was an Iraqi citizen who had allegedly fled to live in Sweden.

His action of allegedly placing rashers of bacon between the pages of the book before setting it on fire has been widely condemned in many Muslim countries across the world.

Video footage posted on social media showed angry crowds climbing onto the walls of the embassy’s compound after breaking an iron gate.


UPDATE: Wednesday, June 28 at 5:10 pm

Following the burning of a Koran today outside a mosque in Stockholm, the Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson voiced his criticism of the act.

Speaking with Aftonbladet, he said that he believed it was not appropriate to carry out such actions. At the same time, he pointed out that the decision to approve the burning rested purely with the police.

“I understand that these are deliberate provocations. Just because it’s legal doesn’t make me think it’s appropriate. We live in a time in which you should come to your senses. I find it difficult to understand why you want to insult”, he told the news outlet.

A major NATO meeting is taking place in Vilnius in early July. The goal for Kristersson’s government remains that Sweden will then become a member of the military alliance.

The PM refused to be drawn on how the new Koran burnings in Stockholm may affect that process. “I do not intend to give general provocateurs the space they want. They want to provoke and engage in insulting others”, he offered.

Kristersson added: “I focus on Sweden joining NATO as soon as possible because it is important for Swedish security and the security of our region”.


Wednesday, June 28 at 3:01 pm

The authorities in Stockholm have granted permission for a copy of the Koran to be burned outside a mosque in the Swedish capital today, Wednesday, June 28.

Police reinforcements have been drafted in from all over the country to deal with any disturbances that could erupt following the decision to allow the burning of a Muslim holy book.

It is due to take place outside the mosque at Medborgarplatsen on the urban island of Södermalm, where riot fences have already been erected.

“Right now, we assess the situation as calm, and our hope is that it will continue to be so”, Mats Kjellmodin, the police force’s group commander at the scene told lt.se.

Outside the mosque, elders have gathered and been observed urging the younger males to remain calm: “If he enters the mosque, give him no space. The Koran is in the heart”, one man was overheard saying.

Previous applications were denied in February

Today’s Koran burning is the first to receive permission since a ruling made by the administrative court and the Court of Appeal in Stockholm earlier this year. At that time, it was ruled that the police’s decision to deny permission for Koran burnings was incorrect.

Helena Boström Thomas, the police press spokesperson explained to the news outlet: “We have refused two different organisers to burn the Koran in February. Then we justified the rejections with the assessment that the Security Police had made, of the impact on the threat of attacks on Sweden and Swedish interests that this would entail”.

“Permission for today’s gathering was issued against the background that the Court of Appeal has since rejected those decisions. The main principle is that an application for a permit for a public gathering must be approved”, Thomas continued.

‘Not making war on Muslims’

The permit was issued to one Salwan Momika. On February 6 he was denied his application to burn the Koran outside the Iraqi embassy. However, he was later one of those who was given the right in court.

Originally from Iraq, Momika wants to criticise Islam through the burning. “We will burn the Koran. We will say: ‘Wake up Sweden’. Democracy is in danger if they say we are not allowed to do this”, Salwan Momika told the news outlet through an interpreter. “I am not making war on Muslims”, he stressed.

Previous Koran burnings caused outrage among Muslims

Koran burnings earlier this year, including one outside the Turkish embassy, caused strong international reactions from the Muslim world.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted that Sweden’s NATO accession would never be ratified as long as Koran burnings were allowed in Sweden.

According to Salwan Momika, the Koran burning is not about NATO. It is about criticism of the Koran, which he believes should be banned worldwide.

“We are not at war against Muslims, but against their thoughts. We are not against the Muslims, we are with them”, explained Salwan Momika.

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Written by

Chris King

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. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com