SWEDEN: A far-right fringe politician supporting anti-immigration burned a copy of the Quran during a massive protest in Sweden that has sparked condemnation from Turkey, describing it as a “vile act.”
The Turkish Ministry has requested that Sweden fight this Islamophobic act immediately. Under the garb of police backing, another separate protest occurred among Kurds against Sweden’s offer to join NATO. Protesters supporting the Turkish cause also held demonstrations outside the embassy.
Nearly 200 people have protested in Istanbul by setting fire to a Swedish flag in front of the Swedish consulate in response to the Quran-burning act.
The diplomatic anxiety between the two countries was sparked when Turkey cancelled a visit by the Swedish Defense Minister, Pal Johnson, pointing out that the trip had “lost its significance and meaning.” Johnson tweeted after that: “Our relations with Turkey are very important to Sweden, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue on common security and defence issues later.”
Turkey had requested Sweden to cease the protest earlier. Ankara’s objection to the Scandinavian country joining NATO’s military alliance was expected to have been dismantled after the trip.
Turkey has objected to Sweden’s joining NATO, claiming that Sweden must first learn to distinguish the Kurdish militant group from another group that it blames for a 2016 coup attempt.
Finland and Sweden had signed an agreement favoring all three countries to overcome Ankara’s objections to their joining NATO.
Tobias Billstrom, the Swedish Foreign Minister, claimed this Islamophobic act was highly atrocious. Billstrom tweets: “Sweden has a far-reaching freedom of expression, but it does not imply that the Swedish government, or myself, support the opinions expressed.”
Rasmus Paludan, affiliated with the far-right Stram Kurs party, burned a copy of the Quran. Paludan, who holds Swedish citizenship, had held several demonstrations in the same spot where he burned the Quran on Saturday.
His protests were in response to Islam and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s attempt to protect freedom of expression in Sweden.
Major Muslim countries have shown a strong dislike for this Islamophobia Act.
Some of the Arab countries were Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Kuwait. The Saudi Foreign Ministry says, “Saudi Arabia calls for spreading the values of dialogue, tolerance, and coexistence, and rejects hatred and extremism.”
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