Sweden, right-wing extremist burns the Koran. The premier condemns protests in many Muslim countries

Sweden, right-wing extremist burns the Koran. The premier condemns protests in many Muslim countries
Sweden, right-wing extremist burns the Koran. The premier condemns protests in many Muslim countries
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As recent history has taught, a provocative gesture can trigger unexpected consequences. For this reason, the Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, condemned as “profoundly disrespectful” the gesture of a right-wing extremist who burned a copy of the Koran in Stockholm, increasing tensions with Turkey just as Sweden is courting Ankara for its candidacy at the Born. “Freedom of expression is a fundamental part of democracy. But what is legal is not necessarily appropriate. Burning sacred books for many is a deeply disrespectful act. I want to express my solidarity with all Muslims who are offended by what happened today in Stockholm,” Kristersson tweeted. Even the Pakistani premier Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif condemned “the desecration of the holy Koran by a right-wing extremist in Sweden,” adding that “no words are enough to adequately condemn the horrific act,” he wrote on his Twitter. Saturday the far-right politician Rasmus Paludan set fire to a copy of the Muslim holy book in front of the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital yesterday. A gesture that provoked an immediate reaction from Ankara, especially since Paludan was authorized by the Swedish police to carry out the protest. Turkey canceled a visit by the Swedish defense minister and summoned the Stockholm ambassador. “At this point, Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s visit to Turkey on January 27 lost its meaning and importance, so we canceled the visit,” said Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. . The Swedish minister’s visit was aimed at overcoming Ankara’s objections to Sweden’s application for NATO membership. Turkey is angered by a right-wing extremist’s permission to demonstrate outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.

Many Muslim countries have expressed outrage. Morocco said it was “astonished” that the authorities allowed it to take place “in front of the Swedish police forces”. Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also condemned it, as did the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Indonesia said that “the act of blasphemy against the holy book has wounded and tarnished religious tolerance”, adding that “freedom of expression must be exercised responsibly”. Dozens of protesters also gathered yesterday in front of the Swedish consulate in Istanbul, where they burned a Swedish flag and they called on Turkey to sever diplomatic ties with Stockholm. Already last year Paludan, a Swedish-Danish activist who has already been convicted of racist abuse, caused riots in Sweden after he went around the country publicly burning copies of the Koran.

Turkey summoned the Swedish ambassador to Ankara on Friday to “condemn in the strongest possible terms this provocative action which clearly constitutes a hate crime,” according to a diplomatic Source. It was the second time in a few days that the Swedish representative in Ankara has been summoned by the foreign ministry, following the release last week of a video showing a hanged mannequin, referred to as the president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The video was produced by a group close to the Rojava Committee, which supports the Kurds in Syria. Since May, Turkey has blocked the entry of Sweden – and Finland – into NATO, accusing them of harboring Kurdish militants and sympathizers it defines as “terrorists”, in particular those of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its allies in the northern Syria and Iraq. For Ankara, any progress depends on Swedish initiatives to extradite people accused of terrorism from Turkey or of having taken part in the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan.

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