Swedish protester abandons plans to burn Torah and Bible | Story

Ahmad Alloush says his intention was to criticize people who burn holy books such as the Quran in the Nordic countries.

Stockholm, Sweden – A man who had hoped to burn a Torah and a Bible outside the Israeli embassy has abandoned the plan and staged a protest against desecration of holy books.

Ahmad Alloush, 32, took a lighter out of his duffel bag and threw it on the ground in the Swedish capital on Saturday, saying he did not want to burn holy books.

He then took out the Quran and condemned what had happened in the past when copies of Islam’s holy book were burned in Sweden.

“If you want to criticize Islam, that’s fine,” he said. But burning the Koran is not “freedom of expression”, he continued, changing Swedish to English; and “doing”.

Swedish courts have previously allowed arson because they legally protect the freedom of assembly, speech and protest.

“This is a response to those who burned the Quran – freedom of speech has its limits”, said Allush.

He could never burn the holy book, he said repeatedly in Arabic and Swedish; he just wanted to show his opposition to the burning of the Quran.

“I pissed people off,” he admitted when asked how he reacted to the news that someone planned to burn a Torah and a Bible in Stockholm. “They can be happy now”, he laughed.

Alloush said he was originally from Syria but had lived in Sweden for eight years and lived in the southwest of the town of Borås.

More than ten policemen protected Alloush from the demonstration [Nils Adler/Al Jazeera]

Constitutional conflict in Sweden

The demonstration comes two weeks after Salwan Momika, an Iraqi refugee, they burned the Quran in front of the Stockholm mosque during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.

There has been little public support for the burning of sacred books within Sweden and no political passion for the event.

Sweden’s international image has been tarnished by recent arson attacks, while governments in several Muslim countries have protested the decision to allow arson.

Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned the act as “Islamophobic”, saying, “The burning of the Quran, or any other sacred texts, is disgusting and disrespectful and offensive. The words racism, xenophobia and bigotry have no place in Sweden.” or in Europe.”

Recent research conducted on behalf of Swedish broadcaster SVT showed that most Swedes support a ban on the public burning of religious documents.

Sweden may pass a law on racial incitement but only restrict what can be said and where the arson can take place. A complete ban on blasphemy would require a law that Sweden abolished in the 1970s to be reinstated.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) accepted the decision on religious hatred and racism after the burnings in Sweden.

The request was submitted on Wednesday but was opposed by the United States and the European Union, which said it was in conflict with their views on human rights and freedom of expression.

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