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Sweden police grant permit for protest against Holy Quran


Swedish police granted a permit on Monday for a protest outside the parliament in which the organisers plan to burn the Holy Quran, according to local media.

The protesters told the media that they wanted to see the Muslim holy book banned in Sweden.

“I will burn it many times, until you ban it,” organiser Salwan Najem told Expressen newspaper.

Najem had joined Iraqi refugee Salwan Momika at two previous such protests in Stockholm – outside the city’s main mosque and later outside Iraq’s embassy.

The protest was scheduled for 1pm (1100 GMT) on Monday, according to the police permit.

Sweden has seen its diplomatic relations with several Middle Eastern nations strained over previous protests involving Holy Quran desecrations.

AFP requested a copy of the application in addition to the permit from police, but did not immediately get a response.

Swedish police have previously stressed they only grant permits for people to hold public gatherings and not for the activities conducted during the events.

Read Desecration of Holy Quran only serves to hurt inter-faith relations: PM

In late June, Momika, 37, set pages of the Holy Quran alight outside Stockholm’s main mosque.

A month later, he staged a similar protest outside the Iraqi embassy, stomping on the Holy Quran but leaving before burning it.

Both incidents led to widespread outrage and condemnations.

Last week, Sweden ordered 15 government bodies including the armed forces, several law enforcement agencies and the tax office to strengthen anti-terrorism efforts.

On Sunday, neighbouring Denmark said it would explore legal means of stopping protests involving the burning of holy texts, citing security concerns following backlash over incidents that saw the Holy Quran desecrated in the country.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said a similar process was already underway.

Both Swedish and Danish envoys have been summoned by a slew of Middle Eastern nations.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq have called for a meeting, expected to be held on Monday, of the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to address Holy Quran desecrations in both Sweden and Denmark.

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