Those in countries under theocratic rule have difficulty grasping the fact that democratic countries don’t micromanage the behavior of their citizens in the same way.
As a result, when a private individual in Sweden burns a Koran as part of a protest, Muslims in some parts of the world think it reasonable to hold the entire country responsible.
That’s a key difference between the (diminishing) freedoms we have have historically enjoyed in the West and, well, everyone else.
A protest permit was filed — and granted — in Sweden where protesters intended to burn both the Koran and an Iraqi flag.
That triggered an international incident… again.
A key detail that needs to be remembered here is who is participating.
Last month, an Iraqi Christian immigrant burned a Koran outside of a mosque in Stockholm. That same Iraqi immigrant was a participant in the protest. The protest stopped short of setting the book on fire, but the damage was already done.
Breaking: Muslim extremists stormed and attacked the Swedish embassy in Baghdad. They’ve set it on fire as revenge for an expected Quran-burning protest in Sweden, which they want banned. pic.twitter.com/nvK0Xq19ba
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) July 20, 2023
Protesters in Sweden kicked and partially destroyed a book they said was the Koran, Islam’s holy book, outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm on Thursday, but did not burn it as they had threatened to do, Reuters witnesses said. — Yahoo
In response to the protest, Iraqis stormed and torched the Swedish embassy, and Iraq has expelled Sweden’s ambassador.
Anti-Islam protesters, one of whom is an Iraqi immigrant to Sweden that burned the Koran outside a Stockholm mosque in June, had applied for and received permission from Swedish police to burn the Koran outside the Iraqi embassy on Thursday.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said embassy staff were safe but Iraqi authorities had failed in their responsibility to protect the embassy.
The Iraqi government strongly condemned the burning of the Swedish embassy, according to a statement from the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani which declared it a security breach and vowed to protect diplomatic missions.
But Baghdad had also “informed the Swedish government … that any recurrence of the incident involving the burning of the Holy Qur’an on Swedish soil would necessitate severing diplomatic relations”, the statement said. — Reuters
Koran-burning controversy has been a recurring theme in Sweden, due to one dual-citizen protester named Rasmus Paludan who has been testing the limits of Sweden’s on-paper committment to a secular government and free speech rights of protest including the right to demonstrate in a way critical of religions.
The following was written in May of 2022.
His methods are as provocative as they are extreme: last month, his party live streamed Paludan burning the Koran in various Swedish cities, triggering protests and counter-protests in Malmo and elsewhere. For this stunt, Swedish Justice Minister Morgan Johansson called Paludan a “right-wing extremist fool, whose only goal is to drive violence and divisions.”
But the emergence of a character like Paludan can, in large part, be explained by the Omertà across Sweden on Islam. In a podcast in Svenska Dagbladet, the leader of the centrist party, Annie Lööf, reasoned that people should not be allowed to criticise Islam during the holy month of Ramadan, nor in “vulnerable areas” (which are dominated by Muslims) while police officer Nadim Ghazale advocated in an article in Expressen: that it should be illegal to offend Islam, because — he argues — Muslims are a vulnerable minority in Sweden.
When everyone else has fallen silent on legitimate matters of religious criticism, it should not be a surprise that hardline activists like Rasmus Paludan emerge. He might be a fool (he nearly lost his life in Uppsala earlier this month when a mob of angry Muslims tried to attack him), but he is a fool who points out harsh truths. He does it in a needlessly provocative manner, but this is the natural result when the entire political class has flatly refused to address the issues relating to Islam in Sweden.
Here in Sweden, we tell ourselves that we are secular and rational, believe in freedom of speech, democracy and so on. But we are only secular in relation to Christianity (and most other religions for that matter), not so much in relation to Islam. Not in public at least. Until we are free to discuss these issues, there’ll be many more Rasmus Paludans to come. — Unherd
In response to the burning in 2022, police cars were torched, and some 40 people were injured. He burned another one near the Turkish embassy in January when Turkey’s vote to approve Sweden’s membership in NATO was still up in the air. (Others in Sweden had burned a life-sized effigy of their head of state not long before that.)
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