Sweden’s Prime Minister condemns Koran burning

Stockholm – ’s has condemned this weekend’s burning of a Koran in Stockholm as “deeply disrespectful”, raising tensions with Turkey as the Nordic country courts Ankara over its NATO bid.

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 on Saturday.

Furious that Paludan had received permission from Swedish to carry out the protest, Ankara canceled a visit by Sweden’s defense minister and summoned Stockholm’s ambassador.

Late on Saturday, Prime Minister tweeted: “Freedom of expression is a fundamental part of democracy. But what is legal is not necessarily appropriate. Burning books that are sacred to many is a deeply disrespectful act.’

“I want to express my sympathy for all Muslims who are offended by what has happened in Stockholm today.”

Paludan’s demonstration has further damaged relations as Stockholm tries to convince NATO member Turkey to approve Sweden and joining the .

Sweden’s bid has been halted amid Ankara’s demands that Stockholm hand over Kurdish activists and prevent demonstrations attacking Turkey’s leadership.

Many Muslim countries said they were outraged by the burning of the Koran on Saturday.

Morocco said it was “surprised” that the authorities had allowed it to happen “in front of the Swedish security forces.”

, Saudi Arabia and the also condemned it, as did the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Jakarta said: “the blasphemy against the holy book has damaged and defiled religious tolerance,” adding that “freedom of expression must be exercised responsibly.”

Dozens of protesters gathered late Saturday in front of the Swedish consulate in , where they burned a Swedish flag and called on Turkey to cut diplomatic ties with Stockholm.

Paludan, a Swedish-Danish activist already convicted of racist abuse, sparked riots in Sweden last year when he went on a tour of the country and publicly burned copies of the Koran.

    Source: sn.dk

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