STOCKHOLM: The Swedish government is examining whether it could make desecration of the Holy Quran or other holy books on fire illegal, as recent incidents have damaged Sweden’s security, Justice Minister Gunnar Strommer told Aftonbladet paper on Thursday.

An Iraqi immigrant in Sweden desecrated the Holy Quran outside a Stockholm mosque last week, causing outrage in the Muslim world and condemnation from the Pope. The Swedish security services said such action left the country less safe.

The police denied several applications earlier this year for protests that were set to include desecration of the Holy Quran, citing security concerns, but courts have since overturned the police decisions, saying such acts are protected by Sweden’s freedom of speech laws.

But the country’s justice minister said on Thursday that the government was analysing the situation and studying whether the law needed to be changed. “We have to ask ourselves whether the current order is good or whether there is reason to reconsider it,” Strommer told Aftonbladet.

He added that Sweden had become a “prioritised target” for attacks.

“We can see that the incident last week has generated threats to our internal security.”

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2023

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