Sweden’s far right burns the Koran. The Prime Minister condemns the protests in many Muslim countries

As recent history has taught, a provocative gesture can lead to unexpected consequences. For this reason, the Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, condemned the gesture of a right-wing extremist who burned a copy of the Holy Qur’an in Stockholm as “deep disrespect”, which increased tensions with Turkey just as Sweden was flirting with Ankara for its candidacy in the Boy. “Freedom of expression is an essential part of democracy. But what is legal is not necessarily appropriate. Burning holy books for many is a very disrespectful act. I want to express my solidarity with all Muslims who were offended by what happened today in Stockholm.” Even the Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif He condemned “the desecration of the Holy Quran by a right-wing extremist in Sweden,” adding that “there are not enough words to adequately condemn the horrific act,” he wrote on Twitter. far-right political Saturday Rasmus Paludan They set fire to a copy of the Muslim holy book in front of the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital yesterday. A gesture that prompted an immediate reaction from Ankara, especially since the Swedish police authorized Paludan to carry out the protest. Turkey canceled a visit by the Swedish Minister of Defense and recalled the Stockholm ambassador. “At this stage, Swedish Defense Minister Pal Johnson’s visit to Turkey on January 27 has lost its meaning and importance, so we canceled the visit,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said. The Swedish minister’s visit was aimed at overcoming Ankara’s objections to Sweden’s request to join NATO. Turkey is outraged by the right-wing extremist’s permission to demonstrate in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.

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Many Muslim countries expressed their outrage. Morocco said it was “surprised” that the authorities allowed it “in front of the Swedish police forces”. Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, also condemned it. Indonesia said that “blasphemy against the Bible has harmed and distorted religious tolerance,” adding that “freedom of expression must be exercised responsibly.” Dozens of demonstrators also gathered yesterday in front of the Swedish Consulate in Istanbul. Where they burned the Swedish flag They called on Turkey to sever diplomatic relations with Stockholm. Already last year, Paludan, a Swedish-Danish activist already convicted of racial abuse, caused riots in Sweden after he went across the country publicly burning copies of the Koran.

Today, Friday, Turkey summoned the Swedish ambassador in Ankara to “condemn this provocative act in the strongest possible terms, which is clearly a hate crime,” according to a diplomatic source. It was the second time in as few days that the Swedish representative had been summoned by the Foreign Ministry in Ankara, after the release of a video last week showing a hanged model, 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 Sweden – and Finland – from NATO, accusing them of harboring Kurdish militants and sympathizers it considers “terrorists”, particularly the PKK and its allies in the north. Syria and Iraq. For Ankara, any progress depends on Swedish initiatives to extradite people accused of terrorism from Turkey or of participating in the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan.

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Harold Manning

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