Swedish PM urges calm, reflection after Quran burning protest


Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on June 30 called for calm and reflection in the wake of this week’s protest in which a Quran was burned outside a Stockholm mosque, which has sparked outrage and condemnation.

“It is difficult to say what the consequences will be. I think there are many people who have reason to reflect,” Kristersson told a press conference.

On June 30, a Quran burning act that coincided with the start of the Muslim Eid al-Adha and the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia sparked anger across the Muslim world.

After being granted a permit to protest by Swedish police, Salwan Momika, 37, stomped on the Islamic holy book and set several pages alight in front of the capital’s largest mosque on June 28.

In Iraq, hundreds of followers of the influential Iraqi Shiite cleric and political leader Muqtada Sadr briefly stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad on June 29 in protest of the burning of a Quran in Sweden.

“It is of course completely unacceptable to have people who unlawfully break into Swedish embassies in other countries,” Kristersson said.

The head of government added there was also no reason “to insult other people,” referring to Momika’s actions.

“I think that just because some things are legal, they are not necessarily appropriate,” Kristersson said.

After another Quran burning act in January, Türkiye temporarily broke off NATO talks with Sweden. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on June 29 suggested that the incident that would pose another obstacle to Sweden’s bid for NATO membership.

But Kristersson stressed it was too early to say what the consequences of this week’s events would be.

“I think we should focus on the right things now, it’s important that Sweden becomes a member of NATO. We have important and large issues to deal with,” he said.

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