Swedish authorities have launched an arson investigation following a devastating fire that reduced a mosque to rubble in Eskilstuna, a central town in Sweden. The fire, which occurred on Monday around noon, caused no injuries but left the mosque almost completely destroyed. While there are no suspects or arrests at this point, local police are actively investigating the incident.
According to a police statement, investigators will question witnesses and determine whether there were security cameras in the vicinity to aid in their inquiries.
This tragic event comes amidst a backdrop of previous violence targeting the mosque over the past year, along with threats against the mosque spokesman Anas Deneche and his family. However, Deneche stressed that it is too early to draw any conclusions about the cause of the fire and is waiting for the police investigation to unfold.
Eskilstuna, a town of 108,000 people located 150 kilometers (93 miles) west of Stockholm, is home to a community of between 15,000 and 20,000 Muslims who are now grappling with the loss of their place of worship.
This incident occurs in the wake of several recent incidents in Sweden involving the desecration of the Holy Quran, which have garnered widespread outrage and condemnation in Muslim countries. While the Swedish government has condemned these acts, it has also underscored its commitment to upholding laws regarding freedom of speech and assembly.
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In July, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on religious hatred, championed by Pakistan on behalf of the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. This resolution called for a report on religious hatred by the UN rights chief and urged states to review their laws to prevent and prosecute acts of religious hatred.
Additionally, in the same month, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance, denouncing attacks against places of worship, religious symbols, and holy books.
The resolution emphasized the need to counter hate speech and strongly deplored violence against individuals based on their religion or belief, as well as attacks on religious symbols, places of worship, and holy books, in violation of international law.