A very worrying decision was taken this Friday in Sweden. Swedish police have authorized a rally in which three people plan to burn a copy of the Bible, and one of the Torah in front of the Israeli embassy in Stockholm. According to the request sent to the police, the organizer says he wants to burn these religious texts in response to the burning of the Koran which took place in June, in front of the Stockholm mosque, which had provoked the ire of the Muslim world.
Contacted by AFP, the police insist that the authorization was not granted for an official request to burn religious texts, but stress that they authorized a public gathering during which “an opinion” will be expressed. , under the constitutional right to freedom of assembly. “The distinction is important,” added Carina Skagerlind, Stockholm police spokeswoman.
But the rally still drew strong condemnation from Israel and Jewish organizations. “I condemned the burning of the Quran, sacred to Muslims everywhere, and today I am heartbroken that the same fate awaits the Jewish Bible, the eternal book of the Jewish people,” responded Israeli President Isaac Herzog. Yaakov Hagoel, president of the World Zionist Organization, considered for his part that the granting of such authorization by the police did not come under “freedom of expression, but anti-Semitism”.
On June 28, an Iraqi refugee in Sweden burned a few pages of a copy of the Koran in front of the largest mosque in Stockholm during the day of Eid al-Adha, a holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world. This event triggered a series of reactions in the Muslim world, and the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday adopted a resolution condemning the burning of the Koran and other acts of religious hatred. But several countries, mostly Western, expressed during the debates their opposition to laws against blasphemy, while strongly condemning such acts.