Home World News Swedish Far-right Leader Burns Quran; All About Rasmus Paludan & Why His Move Has Drawn Turkey’s Ire

Swedish Far-right Leader Burns Quran; All About Rasmus Paludan & Why His Move Has Drawn Turkey’s Ire

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Swedish Far-right Leader Burns Quran; All About Rasmus Paludan & Why His Move Has Drawn Turkey’s Ire

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Last Updated: January 22, 2023, 08:30 IST

Leader of the far-right Danish political party Stram Kurs Rasmus Paludan burns a copy of the Koran during a manifestation outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. (Reuters)

Leader of the far-right Danish political celebration Stram Kurs Rasmus Paludan burns a duplicate of the Koran throughout a manifestation outdoors the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. (Reuters)

Turkey urged Sweden to take crucial actions towards the perpetrators and invited all nations to take concrete steps towards Islamophobia

The protests in Stockholm on Saturday, which included the burning of Quran by an anti-Islamic extremist, drew worldwide condemnation and heightened tensions with Turkey.

Turkey on Saturday cancelled a deliberate go to by the Swedish protection minister over the demonstration. Turkish officers additionally condemned the permission granted to Rasmus Paludan, a right-wing Swedish-Danish politician, to stage a protest Saturday in entrance of its embassy within the Swedish capital.

After a diatribe of just about an hour wherein he attacked Islam and immigration in Sweden, Paludan set fireplace to the Koran with a lighter.

“If you don’t think there should be freedom of expression, you have to live somewhere else,” he told the crowd.

In Sweden, freedom of expression is guaranteed by the constitution and gives people extensive rights to express their views publicly, though incitement to violence or hate speech is not allowed.

Last year, Paludan’s announcement of a Koran-burning “tour” during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan sparked riots across Sweden.

Turkey had already summoned Sweden’s ambassador to Ankara on Saturday to “condemn this provocative action which is clearly a hate crime — in strongest terms,” a diplomatic source said. It also urged Sweden to take necessary actions against the perpetrators and invited all countries to take concrete steps against Islamophobia.

Turkish officials took to Twitter Saturday to condemn anti-Islam activist Rasmus Paludan’s plans to burn the Quran. Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesman for Turkey’s president, called it a hateful crime against humanity.

Ruling party spokesman Omer Celik accused Swedish authorities of protecting hate crimes. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists that attacking the Quran cannot be considered freedom of expression and said he hoped Swedish authorities would cancel the permit for the protest.

Who is Rasmus Paludan?

Rasmus Paludan is a far-right extremist and Danish-Swedish politician who heads Denmark’s far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party.

He has held several events where the Quran was burned, leading to counter-protests marked by violence and burning of cars. Last week, he burnt the effigy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Stockholm.

In the permit he obtained from police, it says his protest was held against Islam and what it called Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s attempt to influence freedom of expression in Sweden.

Last year in April during holy month of Ramzan, Paludan announced he will go on a “Quran burning tour” and began burning the holy e-book in locations the place the predominant populations are Muslims.

International Outrage

Condemnation poured in from the Muslim world.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation bloc said the “provocative action… targets Muslims, insults their sacred values, and serves as further example of the alarming level reached by Islamophobia” and requested Sweden to punish these behind a “hate crime”.

Saudi Arabia underscored “the importance of spreading the values of dialogue, tolerance and coexistence and rejecting hatred and extremism”.

The United Arab Emirates mentioned it was towards “all practices geared toward destabilising safety and stability in contravention of human and ethical values and ideas”.

The Gulf Cooperation Council also condemned the protest.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said: “Islamophobic provocations are appalling”.

“Sweden has a far-reaching freedom of expression, nevertheless it doesn’t suggest that the Swedish authorities, or myself, help the opinions expressed.”

Paludan’s protest was held under heavy police protection with around 100 people — including a large number of reporters — gathered near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top press aide, Fahrettin Altun, urged Sweden to “immediately act” towards hatred-filled provocations.

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