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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Israel condemns Sweden for allowing burning of Torah copy

'I unequivocally condemn the permission granted in Sweden to burn holy books,' says President Isaac Herzog

Israeli President Isaac Herzog strongly condemned the Swedish authorities on Friday for allowing the public burning of a copy of the Jewish holy book Torah, while the Ashkenazi chief Rabbi also wrote to the Swedish prime minister, urging him to cancel the planned desecration on Saturday.

Earlier on Friday, the Swedish police granted permission for a public gathering on Saturday to burn Judaism’s holy book Torah and a Bible in front of the Israeli embassy in Stockholm.

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According to the Israeli news website i24, Israeli President Isaac Herzog strongly condemned the Swedish authorities for allowing the burning of holy books.

“I unequivocally condemn the permission granted in Sweden to burn holy books. As President of the State of Israel, I condemned the burning of the Quran, which is sacred to Muslims all over the world, and I am now heartbroken that the same fate awaits a Jewish Bible, the eternal book of the Jewish people,” the president said.

Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden Ziv Nevo Kulman also said he is shocked and horrified by more permission for public burnings of holy books.

“I utterly condemn the burning of holy books sacred to any religion as an act of hate and disrespect that has nothing to do with freedom of expression,” Kulman wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau wrote to Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, urging him to stop the desecration.

“I call on you to do everything possible to prevent this act. Freedom of expression does not mean permitting everything,” the Times of Israel quoted Lau from the letter.

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“Any desecration of sacred Jewish items is not freedom, but antisemitism,” the chief Rabbi declared.

Last month, an extremist identified as Salwan Momika burned a copy of the Quran under police protection in front of the Stockholm Mosque in Sweden.

His provocative act was timed to coincide with Eid al-Adha, one of the major Islamic religious festivals celebrated by Muslims worldwide.

It elicited widespread condemnations from across the Islamic world, including Türkiye, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Senegal, Morocco, and Mauritania.