A 32 year old Muslim who intended to burn a Torah and a Bible on Saturday in Stockholm gave up his projectexplaining that his intention was actually to denounce those who burn holy books like the Koran in the Nordic country.
The Swedish police granted him authorization on Friday to organize his demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy, a decision that was condemned by the Jewish state and several religious organizations. Ahmad, the organizer of the demonstration, explained to reporters that his intention was to criticize the people who burned the Koran in Sweden in recent monthswhich Swedish law does not prohibit.
“It is a response to people who burn the Koran. I want to show that freedom of expression has limits that must be taken into account,” explained the 32-year-old Swedish resident of Syrian origin. “I want to show that we should respect each other, we live in the same society. What I wanted to show is that it’s not okay to do it,” he added.
The small demonstration peacefully dispersed about 50 meters from the Israeli embassy on an elegant avenue in central Stockholm. The police specified that, in line with Swedish legislation, they granted a permit for a public act and not specifically for the planned activities.
“The police do not issue permits to burn various religious texts, the police issue permits for public meetings and to express an opinion,” said Carina Skagerlind, press officer for the Stockholm police. “It’s an important distinction,” she added.
An Iraqi refugee living in Sweden burned in June some pages of the Koran in front of the Great Mosque of Stockholm coinciding with the celebration of Aid al Adha, an important festival in the Muslim calendar. This sparked outrage in many countries Muslims and on Wednesday the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution condemning the burning of Korans and other acts of religious hatred.