Sweden Riots: Anti-Muslim Politician Attempts Leading Quran-Burning Rally
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — Earlier, Swedish far-right extremists had organized a ‘Quran burning rally’ in the southern city of Malmö. Later, three people were arrested after kicking the Muslim holy book around the town square, sparking riots and unrest after more than 300 people gathered to protest.
These heinous anti-Muslim activities took place near a predominantly migrant neighbourhood, close to one of the city’s mosques prior to being filmed and posted online.
These acts were said to be instigated by an anti-Muslim Danish politician, Rasmus Paludan, who was stopped in a car on Friday afternoon, as he left the Öresund bridge; he was deported and banned from entering Sweden for two years.
In response, rioters lit fires and threw stones at police and rescue services on Friday night, injuring several police officers and leading to the detention of about fifteen people. Scores of youngsters wielded bars taken from street signs and metal barriers and threw fireworks after smashing up bus shelters. Further down the road, cars, tyres, pallets and rubbish bins were set aflame.
Samir Muric, a prominent Malmö imam, strode up and down in the space between the police and the rioters, pleading the rioters to stop and accusing them of shaming their own religion.
“Those who are acting in this way have nothing to do with Islam,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “Their shouts filled with ‘la ilaha ill Allah’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’, are just outbursts that they do not mean because if they really meant them, they wouldn’t have acted like this.”
A young man blocked from returning to his home at the end of a 10-hour shift, could not contain his frustration: “A maximum of five of them are Muslim. You know why? Because a real Muslim doesn’t do this. All religions, not only Islam, are about peace.”
However, some protestors had a different perspective. A rioter stated, “They’re violating our civil rights by letting other people burn the Qur’an that we believe in and now we have to show that they can’t do that. It’s against us, so we’re against them. That’s how simple it is.”
The head of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations expressed “unequivocal condemnation of the burning of the Quran by far-right extremists...as despicable and totally unacceptable."
The police held their ground at the crossroads dividing Rosengård and central Malmö, pushing the rioters back with a series of charges. According to the press spokesman for the Malmö police, “A few policemen have been slightly injured, and I don’t have any reports of any members of the public being injured. We currently have 13 suspects wanted for rioting, five of them have been arrested, but they have all now been released.”
Many witnesses expressed their worries about how the Qur’an-burning and the angry reaction to it might affect the city. It is apparent that there is a growing sense of communal hatred in Sweden- the 13th most peaceful country in the world, at least for now.
Reporter: Ananya Sreekumar