Swedish Government Considers Granting Police Authority to Prevent Quran Burnings

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The Swedish government is contemplating amending the Public Order Act to enable the police to prohibit acts like burning the Holy Quran, but only if they pose a threat to national security. The decision comes in response to recent incidents of Quran burnings and other anti-Islamic activities, which have caused outrage among the Muslim community. In light of increased terrorist concerns, the government has raised the country’s terrorism alert level to the second-highest.

Sweden, known for its extensive freedom of speech laws, protects insults directed towards public figures or religions. The government affirms that it will not entertain any modifications to these laws. However, Minister of Justice Gunnar Strommer announced the intention to establish a commission to investigate the extension of police powers in preventing Quran burnings.

During a press conference, Strommer emphasized that any decision to deny permission for such acts would require serious and specific threats. The proposed change in legislation would provide the police with the authority to relocate protests or disband them entirely.

In recent months, an Iraqi residing in Sweden has vandalized several copies of the Holy Quran.

The government’s plan to form a commission has faced immediate skepticism from various political parties, including the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, which supports the government. Party leader Jimmie Akesson stated, “The Sweden Democrats will never accept that we succumb to threats and pressure from Islamists and dictatorships, even if different values must always be weighed against each other.”

Additionally, the government announced enhanced security measures at embassies and other missions due to a rise in threats against Swedish interests abroad. Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom highlighted the importance of prioritizing the safety of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ staff, diplomats’ families, and local staff, without divulging specific details for security reasons.

The government did not provide a response to requests for further comment.

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