The planned protest, intending to burn a scroll of Torah outside the Israeli embassy in Stockholm, has been called off after the involvement of senior Israeli and Swedish officials.
It took a flurry of activity on part of Swedish officials, Israel’s foreign ministry, and its embassy to stop protestors who wanted to burn a Torah scroll in Sweden’s capital Stockholm.
A group of extremists requested a permit from the police, seeking to stage a protest outside the Israeli embassy in Stockholm, where they intended to burn a scroll of Torah, Yeni Safak, an online news portal based in Türkiye, reported.
But the moment the news became known, Israeli diplomats scrambled and reached out to their counterparts in Sweden, seeking cancellation of the protest, calling it “an act of hate”.
READ MORE: Türkiye strongly condemns ‘vile attack’ against Quran in Sweden
In clear contrast and in an act that reflected Sweden’s blatant hypocrisy, a far-right racist leader Rasmus Paludan was allowed to burn a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on January 21.
Türkiye had strongly condemned the act, calling it “vile”, which was done under the protection of Swedish police.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the vile attack on our holy book, the Quran, in Sweden today, despite our repeated warnings earlier,” a statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
“Permitting this anti-Islam act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, under the guise of ‘freedom of expression’ is completely unacceptable. This is an outright hate crime.”
While Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson called “burning books that are holy to many is a deeply disrespectful act”, he defended “freedom of expression” as “a fundamental part of democracy”.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental part of democracy. But what is legal is not necessarily appropriate. Burning books that are holy to many is a deeply disrespectful act. I want to express my sympathy for all Muslims who are offended by what has happened in Stockholm today.— SwedishPM (@SwedishPM) January 21, 2023
'Racist hate crime'
However, freedom of expression, even if it led to hurting sentiments of billions of Muslims the world over, was protected for as long as it concerned the burning of the Quran. Despite attempts by Turkish leaders to engage with their Swedish counterparts, Paludan’s planned hateful protest went ahead and no efforts were made to stop the “racist hate crime”.
Whereas, requests by Israeli officials for a similar act received a different reception from authorities in Sweden, exposing their hypocrisy.
“We have been very busy in recent days trying to prevent this hateful event, and are working with the most senior ranks in the Foreign Ministry and the local police. We will continue to work to prevent such a shameful incident,” Ziv Nevo Kulman, Israeli ambassador to Sweden, said in a tweet.
READ MORE: ‘Over 1.5 billion Muslims hurt’ – Reaction to Quran desecration in Sweden
And so the planned protest, intending to burn a scroll of Torah outside the Israeli embassy, was called off after organisers were convinced to withdraw their request for the permit.
The Torah is Judaism’s holy scripture, written with a special ink on a special parchment by a Jewish scribe.
“The individual who was organising the demonstration withdrew his permit application from the police,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Havat told JewishPress.com.
An Israeli foreign ministry statement said it, along with its embassy staff in Stockholm, contacted the “top of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Stockholm Police, as well as the Swedish Embassy in Israel” to have the protest halted.
“As a result of our actions, the event at this stage is frozen,” the statement added.