The Swedish police have approved a permit for a demonstration scheduled to take place during Eid al-Adha, where the organizer intends to burn a Quran outside the main mosque in Stockholm. Despite concerns raised by authorities, the police stated that the security risks associated with the burning “were not of a nature that could justify, under current laws, a decision to reject the request.”
This decision comes after a recent ruling by a Swedish appeals court, which overturned the police’s initial denial of permits for two demonstrations in Stockholm that also included Quran burnings. The police had previously cited security concerns following a Quran burning outside Turkey’s embassy in January. The incident resulted in widespread protests, calls for boycotting Swedish goods, and further complications for Sweden’s NATO membership bid.
In particular, Turkey, which has been blocking Sweden’s NATO membership bid due to its perceived failure to address Kurdish groups viewed as “terrorists,” took offense to the police’s authorization of the January demonstration. Subsequently, the police prohibited two subsequent requests for protests involving Quran burnings in February—one by an individual and the other by an organization—planned to take place outside the Turkish and Iraqi embassies in Stockholm.
The appeals court ruled that police were wrong to ban those, saying “the order and security problems” referenced by the police did not have “a sufficiently clear connection to the planned event or its immediate vicinity.”
The request for the Wednesday demonstration was made by the same private individual Salwan Momika who had his previous request blocked. “I want to protest in front of the large mosque in Stockholm, and I want to express my opinion about the Quran… I will tear up the Quran and burn it,” he wrote in the application.