Sweden's image changed by Quran burnings: Counter-terror chief

By agencies September 01, 2023 5164

Sweden’s counter-terrorism chief warned Thursday that the country’s image has changed after the repeated Quran burnings in Stockholm, according to media reports. 

Fredrik Hallstrom said at a news conference that Sweden will probably “live with it for a time and we have to survive with that image,” said the N WORLD media outlet.

The image circulating abroad will keep doing the rounds, especially on social media, he said, adding that security threats are to remain high for some time.

The Nordic country raised its terror threat level to high after Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Sweden had become a “prioritized target” for extremists.

Justice Minister Gunnar Strommer also warned that the security situation is very bleak, according to media reports.

The country will “live with this higher threat for the foreseeable future,” he said.

Sweden has been widely condemned, especially by the Muslim world, for allowing Quran desecration to take place under the pretext of free speech.

The Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) earlier this month urged member states to apply appropriate political and economic measures on Sweden and other countries where the Muslim holy book is allowed to be burned.

The OIC warned it is necessary to put a stop to the act which is characterized as an “act of aggression that spreads hatred and contempt for religions and threatens global peace, security and harmony.”

In recent months, the burnings took place outside Sweden’s parliament, Stockholm’s main mosque and the Turkish and Iraqi embassies.

Quran burning protests also took place in neighboring Denmark, prompting that country to announce plans last week to make the burning of religious texts a criminal offense.

Sweden, however, is still considering its legal options. Kristersson said earlier this month that the Scandinavian country has no plans to make changes to its laws.