There has been fighting in several Swedish cities for the fourth day, sparked by the burning of a Quran by a far-right, anti-immigrant organisation.
Qatar has strongly condemned the burning of copies of the Holy Quran by far right extremists in Malmo in Sweden. Qatar called the incident an act of incitement and a major provocation to the sensibilities of the world’s more than two billion Muslims.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement affirming Qatar’s total rejection of all forms of hate speech based on belief, race, or religion, and warning that this populist inflammatory rhetoric had taken a dangerous turn by continuing institutional and systematic calls for the world’s Muslims to be targeted repeatedly.
In this context, the Ministry urged the international community to take responsibility for renouncing hatred, discrimination, incitement, and violence, as well as to work toward a grassroots solution to the troubled relationship between freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression, through dialogue and mutual understanding.
Qatar’s unwavering support for the values of tolerance and coexistence, as well as its commitment to developing international peace and security standards, was reaffirmed by the Ministry.
Unrest in Sweden
At least three people were injured after Swedish police fired warning shots at protesters in Norrkoping. The protesters were out for the second time in four days, in response to a far-right group’s planned burning of the holy Quran.
Rasmus Paludan, the leader of Stram Kurs, announced the move on Facebook, writing that it was “time to burn the Quran” and that they would bring “pork blood” to pour over the sacred text.
Paludan, a 40 year-old Danish lawyer with Swedish citizenship, founded Stram Kurs, or Hard Line, in 2017 with an anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim agenda, advocating for the prohibition of Islam and mass deportation of ‘non-Western’ people.
There were approximately 150 participants in the protests, of which four were arrested.
According to the Associated Press, Kim Hild, a spokesman for police in southern Sweden, said early Saturday that the bar for rejecting free expression was high, and that authorisation for the anti-Muslim protests would not be revoked.
According to Swedish news reports, protests have been place around the country since Thursday, including in Stockholm, the capital, and other towns where Stram Kurs planned to hold rallies.