An authorized anti-Turkish demonstration in Stockholm angered Turkey and much of the Arab world this Saturday, January 21. Rasmus Paludan, a Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist, has, as he had announced, burned a copy of the Koran.
The authorization given to a Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist, Rasmus Paludan, to demonstrate on Saturday January 21 in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm aroused the anger of Ankara and a large part of the Arab world. Under heavy police protection and sheltered by metal barriers, this anti-Islam and anti-immigration activist, as he had announced, burned a copy of the Koran, noted an AFP journalist. “If you don’t think there should be freedom of expression, you have to live elsewhere,” said this regular in the burnings of the Koran, in a diatribe of almost an hour.
The Swedish police had estimated Friday that the Constitution and the freedoms of demonstration and expression in Sweden did not justify the prohibition of this demonstration in the name of public order. On Saturday, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin condemned the planned protest, calling it a “manifest hate crime”. “To allow this action despite all our warnings is to encourage hate crimes and Islamophobia,” he tweeted. “The attack on sacred values is not freedom but modern barbarism,” he added.
“Appalling Islamophobic provocation”
In protest, several dozen people gathered at the end of the day on Saturday in front of the Swedish consulate in Istanbul, where they burned a Swedish flag and called on Ankara to break all diplomatic ties with Stockholm, noted a journalist from the AFP. Others demonstrated near the Swedish embassy in Ankara.
Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam, has via a statement from its Foreign Ministry “condemned and denounced that the Swedish authorities allowed an extremist to burn a copy of the Koran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm “.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have also condemned the move. The head of Swedish diplomacy condemned “an appalling Islamophobic provocation” and stressed that the authorization of the demonstration did not mean that it was supported by the executive.
“Islamophobic provocations are appalling. Sweden has very extensive freedom of expression, but that does not imply that the Swedish government, or myself, supports the views expressed,” Tobias Billström said on Twitter.