Sweden: police ban Koran burnings
The Swedish police has issued a ban on demonstrations at which copies of the Koran are burned, according to the country’s largest daily Dagens Nyheter. The ban does not apply to other sacred scriptures. Koran burnings led to riots in 2022 and recently to outraged reactions in Turkey, which is blocking Sweden’s accession to Nato. Now the courts are to examine whether the directive is legal.
A sensible ban
Göran Lambertz, former justice advisor to the Swedish government, sees a clear basic position in Upsala Nya Tidning:
“The question is basically quite simple: Is it incitement against Muslims to set fire to their holy scriptures in public and at the same time make it clear that this is a hostile act against all Muslims? Most people would likely say yes in answer to this question. This is exactly why it is and should be forbidden to burn the Koran in public.”
Rioting must not be an argument
Violence cannot prevail over freedom of expression, warns Dagens Nyheter:
“In 2022, hundreds of police were injured and cars were burned because of burnings of the Koran. But so far the fact that groups may get upset and attack has not been a valid reason for silencing those who do or say something others don’t like. Therefore the Administrative Court’s decisions on whether it was right or wrong for the police to say no to more burnings of the Koran are fundamental. After all, it is the job of the police to ensure freedom of expression. In the current situation, those who show the greatest willingness to use violence effectively decide who is allowed to say what.”