A Swedish court has overturned a police decision to ban two scheduled Quran-burning acts, saying security risk concerns were not enough to limit such actions that are deemed inappropriate and provocative, especially among Muslims and other people of faith.
The “police authority has not had sufficient support for its decisions,” judge Eva-Lotta Hedin said in a statement on Tuesday, referring to planned protests outside the Turkish and Iraqi embassies in Stockholm.
On the other hand, some 51 percent of Swedes support a ban on the burning of the Quran and other holy scriptures, a survey revealed on Saturday.
While 34 percent say burning holy scriptures is freedom of speech and expression, 15 percent did not comment, according to the poll by major research company Sipo.
The survey was conducted on March 14-16 with the involvement of 1,370 responders.
Meanwhile, public broadcaster SVT said provocative incidents by Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan against the Muslim holy book cost the country’s treasury some 88 million Swedish krona ($8.5 million).
In a separate development, Sweden’s police security service said on Tuesday it had detained five men on suspicion of conspiracy to commit alleged “terrorist crimes”, in a case linked to a Quran-burning protest in Stockholm this year.
The five men were detained after coordinated raids in three cities on Tuesday morning.
The suspects are believed to have “international links to terrorist groups”, the Security Service said.
“The current case is one of several that the Security Police has worked on after the protests that were directed at Sweden in connection with the highly publicised burning of the Koran in January,” the Security Service said in a statement.
Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right political party Stram Kurs, surrounded and protected by the police, set the Quran on fire in Sweden’s capital Stockholm in front of the Turkish Embassy in January.
The act has been since condemned by many Muslim countries, including Türkiye and various domestic and international NGOs and human rights groups.
The Quran burning incidents in Sweden have also complicated Stockholm’s decision to join the NATO security alliance, after Ankara declared its opposition to the membership citing security concerns.