More than 34,000 people have signed a Swedish petition demanding the government make burning the Quran a crime after cities across the country saw multi-day riots against anti-Islamic activists burning the Islamic holy book.
The petition was started by Swedish journalist Atilla Yoldas, a reporter and columnist for the Swedish newspaper Expressand managed to gather nearly 36,000 signatures in about four days from Wednesday.
“How can vandalism of mosques and harassment of Muslim congregations be counted and investigated as hate crimes, but deliberate destruction of the Quran not?” Yoldas argued, condemning the taxpayer cost of policing due to the activities of Danish anti-Islamic politician Rasmus Paludan and his supporters.
Since Thursday of last week, Swedish cities have been rocked by riots, leading to at least 26 police officers injured, 20 police vehicles damaged or destroyed and more than a dozen members of the public injured. The riots also saw a school set on fire in Malmo and several people shot after a police warning shot ricocheted off while police officers were being attacked in Norrköping.
Rasmus Paludan leads the Danish political party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), and organizes frequent demonstrations where he burns a copy of the Koran and shows representations of Mohamed. Paludan argues that violent responses to his presence prove his belief that Muslims themselves are predisposed to violence: he says Muslims should be deported.
Certainly, the Islamic faith tends to view the abuse of its holy book and the creation of images of its prophet as highly offensive. Paludan has been arrested in the past on charges of racism.
Sweden sees days of riots over Danish politician who burns the Koran https://t.co/DUgHgQvyCE
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 17, 2022
Journalist Yoldas is not alone in the petition to stop Paludan and his supporters. Several Swedish municipal politicians have asked the police to stop Paludan from holding further demonstrations.
Olle Vikmång, chairman of the Norrköping city council, commented on the disturbances saying: “I am disgusted by the messages Paludan conveys. But it does not give anyone the right to resort to violence against the police and emergency services and to burn cars, injure, threaten and intimidate people.”
“Police must protect people’s right to say what they want. At the same time, they have a mission to protect law and order. It shows how difficult the police mission is,” she added.
Foreign politicians have also commented on the Swedish unrest, such as the parliamentary co-chair of the German Alternative for Germany (AfD), Alice Weidel, who linked the unrest directly to Islam and mass migration.
“A similar development in this country can only be stopped if we decisively change course, secure our borders and, above all, rigorously expel criminal migrants from the country,” Weidel I wrote Tuesday on Twitter.