Sweden allows protest burning Torahs and Bibles outside Israeli Embassy
Swedish authorities have approved a protest involving the burning of Torahs and Bibles outside the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden’s national radio broadcaster reported on Friday.
A person who has applied to hold a public gathering on Saturday to burn the holy books has been granted permission, Sveriges Radio said.
The European Jewish Congress (EJC) said in a press release on Friday that they “strongly” condemned the decision of Swedish authorities.
“Provocative, racist, antisemitic and sickening acts such as these have no place in any civilised society,” EJC president Ariel Muzicant said in the statement.
“Stamping on the deepest religious and cultural sensibilities of people is the clearest expression possible to send a message that minorities are unwelcome and unrespected,” Muzicant added.
“These actions, based on contorted and specious free speech arguments, are a disgrace to Sweden and any democratic government worthy of the name should prevent it.”
Israeli President Isaac Herzog also condemned the Swedish authorities’ decision.
“I unequivocally condemn the permission granted in Sweden to burn holy books. As the President of Israel, I condemned the burning of the Quran, sacred to Muslims world over, and I am now heartbroken that the same fate awaits a Jewish Bible, the eternal book of the Jewish people,” Herzog tweeted.
At the end of June, a man burned a copy of Islam’s holy book outside a mosque in the Swedish capital, triggering violent protests at the Swedish embassy in Baghdad.
The decision to permit that protest was made in accordance with the right of freedom of speech, Swedish police said at the time.
A police permit obtained by CNN last month stated that the “security risks and consequences connected to a Quran burning are not of such a nature that, according to current law, they can be the basis for a decision to reject an application for a general meeting.”
The permit for the June demonstration said that Quran burnings “mean an increased risk of a terrorist attack” and “can also have foreign policy consequences.”
However, it added that for “security problems to be the basis for a decision to refuse a general assembly, these must have a clear connection to the planned gathering or its immediate surroundings.”