Sweden bans Quran burning protest — RT World News
Turkey says it may block Stockholm’s NATO bid over desecration of Islamic holy book
Swedish police have denied anti-Islam activists permission to burn the Koran outside the Turkish embassy, citing an upsurge in terror threats following a similar act last month. Ankara has threatened to block Sweden’s application for NATO membership following last month’s protest, which was cleared by authorities.
The Swedish National Police announced on Tuesday that the protest request had been denied, explaining that “Such a gathering is deemed likely to cause serious harm to national security.”
Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan, who also holds Swedish citizenship, led a protest in Stockholm last month in which he burned the Islamic holy book outside the Turkish embassy. Swedish politicians condemned Paludan’s stunt, but authorities cleared it to go ahead, with Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom citing the country. “Extensive freedom of expression” laws.
The protest sparked a wave of anger across the Muslim world. In a report on Tuesday, Sweden’s Security Police – the agency responsible for espionage and counter-terrorism – said they saw “an increase in the number of terrorist threats” following the fire.
“Sweden is considered more targeted than before for violent Islamism”, says the agency.
The national police said they made the decision to reject the request for a second protest after discussions with Swedish security police.
As well as seemingly increasing the terrorist threat, the Paludan protest in January jeopardized Sweden’s bid to join NATO. Sweden and Finland both renounced their neutrality and asked to join the US-led military bloc last summer, but Stockholm’s refusal to ban Paludan from publicly burning Muslim scriptures has prompted Ankara to cancel a membership meeting with the two Nordic nations.
Turkey had previously clashed with the two countries, refusing to ratify their offers to join until they agreed to extradite dozens of suspected terrorists and lift arms embargoes previously imposed on the country. In light of the Quran burning, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that “as long as [Sweden allows] my holy book, the Koran, to be burned and torn… we will not say yes to your entry into NATO.
Although the United States is the dominant power in NATO, all 30 member states must vote unanimously to accept new nations into the alliance.