Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson expressed apprehension on Thursday as police reported receiving several permit applications for the burning of religious texts, in the country next week. He expressed deep concern about the potential repercussions of such acts, which have already strained Stockholm's ties with Muslim nations.
The ongoing Quran burning crisis, initiated by a handful of anti-Islam activists in Sweden and neighboring Denmark, has triggered angry demonstrations in various Muslim countries. Despite the growing controversy, Sweden does not have specific legislation prohibiting the burning or desecration of religious texts. The country's constitution protects the right to hold public demonstrations, and police generally grant permits based on assessments of public safety and potential disruptions.
The Swedish Security Service warned on Wednesday that the recent Quran burnings have adversely affected Sweden's reputation among Muslim nations and heightened security concerns, particularly from threats within the violent Islamist milieu. In response to the escalating situation, Foreign Minister Tobias Billström and security service representatives appeared before the Swedish Parliament's foreign affairs committee to address the Quran burning crisis at the request of the opposition Social Democratic Party, as AP reported.
Following the meeting, Foreign Minister Billström emphasized the gravity of the situation and acknowledged that there is no "quick fix" to alleviate the anti-Swedish sentiments prevailing in the Muslim world. He stressed the government's commitment to safeguarding Swedish interests and the safety of its citizens both domestically and abroad.
Prime Minister Kristersson disclosed that the government has established a new task force among security agencies to devise measures aimed at combating terrorism and violent extremism. Despite these efforts, the situation remains delicate and poses significant challenges for Swedish authorities.
In response to the escalating tensions and concerns surrounding the Quran burning incidents, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has called for an emergency remote meeting scheduled for July 31 at the ministerial level. The meeting will focus on addressing the Quran burnings in Sweden and Denmark and finding ways to de-escalate the situation and restore constructive dialogue with the Muslim world.