Muslim man Ahmad Alloush, who had initially planned to burn the Torah and the Bible outside the Israeli embassy in Stockholm, has changed course and instead organized a demonstration against the desecration of holy books.
Alloush surprised onlookers by discarding a lighter onto the ground, affirming that his intention was never to burn any sacred texts.
During the demonstration, Alloush showcased a Quran and voiced his criticism of previous incidents in Sweden where copies of the Islamic holy book were set ablaze. While he acknowledged the acceptability of critiquing Islam, he vehemently asserted that burning the Quran does not fall under the umbrella of freedom of expression. He conveyed his message in both Swedish and English, underscoring that freedom of speech has its limits and that his purpose was to protest against those who had burned the Quran.
#WATCH#Sweden: Muslim refrains from burning #Torah, #Bible despite permission
Ahmed Allush says he never planned on actually burning the holy books rather he wanted to emphasise that no sacred book should be burned pic.twitter.com/TG49JThSGW
— Middle East Monitor (@MiddleEastMnt) July 16, 2023
Originally hailing from Syria, Alloush has resided in Sweden for eight years, primarily in the southwestern municipality of Borås. His protest comes in the aftermath of another occurrence where Salwan Momika, an Iraqi refugee, burned the Quran in front of a Stockholm mosque during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.
The burning of holy books has garnered little support among the Swedish populace, and there is no political appetite for such actions. The Swedish foreign ministry condemned these burnings as “Islamophobic,” emphasizing that they have no place in Sweden or Europe.
A Syrian Muslim obtained permits which would allow him to burn the Torah and Bible outside of the Israeli embassy in Sweden.
However he chose not to burn the books, instead he said it was to draw attention to the burning of the Qurʾān which happened last month. He turned up… pic.twitter.com/hHNpQgrxNR
— • (@Alhamdhulillaah) July 15, 2023
A recent survey conducted on behalf of Swedish national television broadcaster SVT revealed that a majority of Swedes favor a ban on publicly burning religious texts. However, implementing a comprehensive prohibition would necessitate the reintroduction of a law that was abolished in the 1970s. Presently, Sweden can only restrict the content and locations of such burnings through legislation pertaining to incitement against ethnic groups.
In response to the burnings in Sweden, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution addressing religious hatred and bigotry. Nevertheless, the resolution faced opposition from the United States and the European Union, who argued that it conflicted with their stances on human rights and freedom of expression.