Sweden’s prime minister said Thursday that police have received several permit applications for the burning of religious texts in the country next week, and that he fears this may escalate tensions further with the Muslim world.
In his first public comments since the start of the Quran burning crisis that has severely strained Stockholm’s ties with Muslim nations, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told Swedish news agency TT he was “extremely concerned” about a new wave of desecrations.
“It’s the police that make those decisions, not me. If they (permits) are granted, we face a number of days with the obvious risk of serious things happening,” Kristersson told TT.
A recent string of public Quran desecrations by a handful of anti-Islam activists in Sweden – and more recently in neighboring Denmark – has sparked angry demonstrations in Muslim countries.
Sweden does not have a law specifically prohibiting the burning or desecration of the Quran or other religious texts. The right to hold public demonstrations is valued and protected by the Swedish Constitution. Police generally give permission based on whether they believe a public gathering can be held without major disruptions or risks to public safety.