Court convicts man for Qur’an burning in Sweden

Srinagar, Oct 12: In a first, a court in Sweden convicts a man of inciting hatred with a 2020 Qur’an burning, a media report said today.

The Linkoping district court in central Sweden found the man guilty of “agitation against an ethnic group,” calling his action had “targeted Muslims and not Islam as a religion,” and “can hardly be said to have encouraged an objective and responsible debate,” Arab News reported.

In September 2020, the 27- year-old man had recorded a video clip outside the Linkoping cathedral showing a Qur’an and bacon being burned on a barbecue, with a pejorative remark about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) written on a sign under the barbecue. The man had also published the video on social media platforms Twitter (now known as X), and YouTube, and placed the burnt Qur’an and bacon outside the Linkoping Mosque. He had also used “Remove Kebab”, a popular song among far-right wings in the video which calls for the religious cleansing of Muslims.

The court said, “the music is strongly associated with the attack in Christchurch,” New Zealand, in 2019 in which an Australian white supremacist killed 51 people at two mosques. The court rejected that argument of the convict that his action was a criticism of Islam as a religion.

“The court finds that the chosen music to a film with such content cannot be interpreted any other way than as a threat against Muslims with an allusion to their faith,” the court wrote in a statement. “The film’s content and the form of its publication are such that it is clear that the defendant’s primary purpose could not have been other than to express threats and contempt,” it said. Notably, the Sweden witnessed a wave of Qur’an burnings earlier this year that prompted international outrage and even led Sweden’s intelligence agency to heighten its terror alert level.

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