Three new applications to burn religious scriptures have been submitted to the Swedish police, of the Koran, the Torah and the New Testament - raising concerns and sparking condemnation, according to reports in Swedish media. The applications include two in Stockholm and one in Helsingborg. One of the applications pertains to a Koran burning outside a mosque in Stockholm and the organizer intends for it to happen "as soon as possible."
The recent burning of a Koran outside a mosque in Stockholm caused widespread anger and criticism. The police have confirmed the receipt of the applications and are evaluating them individually to determine if they meet the necessary conditions. The previous Koran burnings in Sweden have had political ramifications and have been described as detrimental to Sweden's NATO process.
One of the applications was a request to burn a Torah book outside the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm on July 15th.
Reports in Sweden claim that political figures have expressed shock and horror over the new applications, emphasizing the need to address such hateful acts. The potential demonstrations raise questions about the legal implications and incitement against specific religious groups.
The Jewish communities in Sweden express shock
"The Jewish community in Sweden is shocked," Rabbi Moshe David HaCohen told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. HaCohen is the co-founder and project director of Amanah, a Swedish organization that promotes dialogue and connections between religious minorities, mainly Muslims and Jews.
"We spoke out against the burning of the Koran in recent months and we now condemn the will of local Swedes to burn holy scriptures of Jews, Muslims and Christians. The Swedish government does not understand that this is a hate crime with a threat to religious life in our country," he said.
HaCohen added that following the burning of the Koran, there were several requests to burn Torah scrolls, "but they did not take place because the Muslim leadership prevented it."
"The burning of religious texts is an unmistakable act of hate and a fundamental attack against all who adhere to any faith," the World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said in a statement. "These visible displays of incitement marginalize religious minorities and sow division across society.
"We join the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities in condemning the heinous act of burning religious books and express our solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters."
The President of the Conference of European Rabbis, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said in a statement, "A despicable act reminiscent of dark periods in the bloody history of the European continent. The German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine once warned that where holy books are burned, people will also be burned. The Swedish government has once again succeeded in hurting the feelings of the country's religious communities. We will not restrain ourselves from this har. We are examining all legal and political options to act against these dangerous proposals."
"Freedom of expression is not a supreme value for humanity, and it does not permit actions that encourage citizens to break the law with acts that promote hate crimes and incitement against religious communities in the country," Rabbi Goldschmidt continued. "If there is no limit to freedom of expression, then what prevents us from allowing Nazi propaganda and Holocaust denial to exist?"
"Sweden's decision to allow the burning of a Koran in front of a mosque is a very unfortunate decision," Interior Minister Moshe Arbel said in a statement in which he also cited Heinrich Heine. "These actions do not respect human beings, do not respect multiculturalism, do not respect history and do not respect heritage. It's not liberalization, it's bad moves that can lead to violence. We must all stand up to preserve the honor and status of the foundational books and the heritage of every religion and every nation."
Ra'am MK Mansour Abbas joined many others in protesting outside of the Swedish embassy in Israel, holding up a sign which read: "The Holy Koran forbids the violation on other holy books."