In a first: Swedish man convicted of inciting ethnic hatred by burning Holy QuranBreaking

October 13, 2023

A Swedish man was convicted of inciting ethnic hatred after he burned the Holy Quran and bacon on a barbecue and posted a video of it on social media. The court found that the man's actions were a targeted threat against Muslims rather than a criticism of Islam as a religion. Back in September 2020, he posted a video on social media. This video showed a Holy Quran being burned on a barbecue while he made disrespectful comments about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The video even had music associated with far-right groups linked to the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks.

The court decided that his actions weren't just a critique of Islam as a religion, but they were a direct threat to Muslims. He was convicted of "agitation against an ethnic or national group" and received a suspended sentence with a two-year probation period. The man was given a 'suspended sentence' with a two-year probation period. The court clarified that the conviction was attributed to the intended threat against the Muslim community and not merely the act of burning the Quran.

The decision also emphasized the difference between the freedom of expression and acts aimed at inciting hatred or violence against specific ethnic or religious groups. The court said that the man's actions were clearly meant to express threats and contempt. The man denied any wrongdoing, arguing that his action was a criticism of Islam as a religion. There were many incidents of the Quran being desecrated in Sweden this year. This caused the government to raise the terrorism alert level.

It also affected Sweden's relationship with other countries, including its application to join NATO. There have been many discussions about making new laws to prevent people from desecrating the Holy Quran in public because the government is worried about national security.

 Credit: Independent News Pakistan (INP)