A man tore up and burned a Quran on Wednesday outside of a Stockholm mosque in a protest that risks angering Turkey as Sweden needs the Muslim-majority NATO member to approve their bid to join the military alliance.
Police gave a permit for the event to Salwan Momika, an atheist Iraqi immigrant and Swedish citizen, to hold the event after a three month legal battle, Momika told CNN. The demonstration coincided with Eid al-Adha, the Islamic holiday commemorating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac.
“This book should be banned in the world because of the danger it causes to democracy, ethics, human values, human rights, and women’s rights. It just doesn’t work in this time and age,” he said.
Only two people, including Momika, participated in the event, while an estimated 200 people, including supporters and detractors, watched, Reuters reported.
Sweden approved the event after courts said rejecting applications for anti-Quran demonstrations would infringe on freedom of speech. The move was likely to anger Turkey, which has been opposed to Sweden joining NATO.
Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Harkan Fidan condemned the burning in a tweet.
“I curse the despicable act committed in [Sweden] against our Holy Book, the Holy Quran!” he wrote, as translated, adding, “it is unacceptable to allow these actions under the pretext of freedom of expression.”