Swedish police on Friday said they had granted a permit for a protest which would include burning holy texts outside the Israeli embassy in Stockholm, sparking condemnation from Israel and Jewish organisations.

The controversial protest, scheduled for Saturday, comes weeks after a man set fire to pages of the Holy Quran outside Stockholm’s main mosque — leading to widespread outrage and condemnations around the world.

The demonstration would include a burning of the Torah and the Bible, was in response to the Holy Quran burning protest, and would be an expression in support of freedom of speech, according to the application to the police.

In a comment to AFP, Stockholm police stressed that in line with Swedish legislation, they granted permits for people to hold public gatherings and not for the activities conducted during them.

“The police do not issue permits to burn various religious texts — the police issue permits to hold a public gathering and express an opinion,” said Carina Skagerlind, press officer for Stockholm police.

“An important distinction,” she added.

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog was one of several Israeli representatives and Jewish organisations to immediately condemn the decision.

“I unequivocally condemn the permission granted in Sweden to burn holy books,” Herzog said in a statement.

“I condemned the burning of the [Holy] Quran, sacred to Muslims the world over, and I am now heartbroken that the same fate awaits a Jewish Bible, the eternal book of the Jewish people,” the head of state added.

In June, Swedish police had granted a permit for 37-year-old Salwan Momika’s protest where he desecrated the Holy Quran.

The permit was granted in line with free speech protections, but authorities later said they had opened an investigation over “agitation against an ethnic group”, noting that Momika had burnt pages from the Islamic holy book very close to the mosque.

Countries, including Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco, summoned Swedish ambassadors in protest at the incident, which led to an emergency meeting of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Sweden’s government also condemned the burning as “Islamophobic”, while noting that the country had a “constitutionally protected right to freedom of assembly, expression and demonstration”.

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