Burning Quran by anti-Islam activists is a destructive act: Sweden PM

Sweden flag being burnt in response to burning of holy Quran allowed by Sweden government.

The burning of the Quran by anti-Islam activists is a destructive act that harms Sweden’s national security, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Thursday.

Writing on Facebook, Kristersson urged the public to understand that the situation is “very serious.”

“The most recent destructive events – in particular, different demonstrative burning incidents – have increased risks for Sweden,” he wrote.

The prime minister said that according to an assessment by the Swedish police, “we have gone from being what is called a legitimate target for terrorist attack to a priority target.”

Sweden is also in danger of becoming “a pawn in the games played by outside powers,” he warned.

On Wednesday, the head of communication at Sweden’s Psychological Defense Agency, Mikael Ostlund, accused Russia of using the Quran-burning incidents in its “disinformation campaign… to split us in the West and also to create an increased anxiety and polarization here in Sweden.” He claimed Moscow’s goal was “to make it more difficult for Sweden to join NATO.”

In recent weeks, demonstrators have staged two Quran-destroying acts outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm, with prior permission from the police.

In June, Iraqis who were outraged by the desecration of Islam’s holy book, overran the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, setting it on fire. Shortly afterwards, the Iraqi authorities expelled the Swedish ambassador, while recalling their envoy from Stockholm.

The burning incidents have caused anger elsewhere in the Muslim world, with Türkiye, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, the UAE and Jordan among the countries to condemn Sweden.

In a separate interview with TT news agency on Thursday, Kristersson said Swedish police received several more permit applications for the burning of religious texts next week, but did not mention the Quran specifically.

Earlier this month, a Muslim demonstrator received approval for setting the Torah and the Bible on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Stockholm. However, the activist abandoned his plans at the last moment, instead staging a protest against the desecration of holy books of any faith.

“It’s the police that make those decisions [on giving out permits], not me… If they are granted, we face a number of days with the obvious risk of serious things happening,” Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson pointed out, adding that he was “extremely concerned.”

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